Christmas Date Cake

Dates are the perfect sweet ingredient for a winter kitchen. The natural sweetener makes a great base for cakes, salads, jams, smoothies, sauces, breads and gives that lovely rich intensive caramel taste. I’ve done date coffee-style cakes every winter and since it is only three nights until Christmas, it was about time to make one. The sticky juicy cake was topped with a cream cheese icing and some macarons but the cake is great just on its own. I love to have it with a cup of tea or an espresso as a little pick me during the day. I enjoyed some while wrapping the last of the gifts and organising some last things that we have to do before winding down for the big day.

 

Date cake ingredients

  • 250g dates (pit removed)
  • 2dl sugar
  • 2dl water
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2dl flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

cake tin

  • butter
  • bread crumb- flour

toppings

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • macarons

Directions

Deseed and cut the dates into a saucepan and cook on medium heat . Add the sugar and water. Let the dates cook until soft and mushy for about 10 minutes. Add in the butter and allow to melt into the dates.

Allow the dates to cool a little and add in the egg. Add in the dry ingredients. Butter and flour the cake tin, then pour the date mixture into the cake tin. Place the cake tin into the oven ( 175 degrees Celsius) onto the lower level for 45 minutes. Check that the cake is ready by pressing a tooth pick into the mixture, if it comes out dry, it is ready. However, do not overcook the mixture and allow it to cool before tipping it over onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing, melt some butter and mix in with the icing sugar. Mix in some cream cheese and a splash of milk. Pour the frosting over the date cake and garnish with macarons. If the consistency seems too dry, add more milk or butter and if the consistency seems too wet, add more sugar.

Pour the icing over the cooled date cake and garnish with a few macarons. Sieve on some icing sugar.

Gooey Blueberry Cinnamon Buns

Have I got the recipe for you… These oozing blueberry cinnamon buns are moist and gooey, perfect for a little sweet treat during the holidays. I wanted to make buns stacked in an oven dish and not too many of them, so I think this recipe calls for the perfect amount. I basically used a normal cinnamon bun recipe but added a little extra by filling it with a berry glaze alongside the cinnamon sugar mixture.

While the buns were cooking in the oven, I was walking our dog and kid-you-not, there was the most wonderful smell lingering in the hallway of our apartment before I stepped back inside. I wanted to share this recipe with you as fast as possible, so you can bake this on Christmas morning if you love to start the day with something sweet.  My husband who does not have a major sweet tooth, loved this dish, so will be making it much more gladly than traditional cinnamon rolls. This little festive treat made to be eaten with woolen socks on, under the blanket with the fire roaring in the background. We ate the remaining of the buns last night while watching Home Alone 2, all cozy in our living room.

Bun Ingredients: (serves 1 baked tray)

  • 2.5dl whole milk warm
  • 75g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 egg
  • 1dl sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cardamum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • About 7dl flour
  • 75g melted butter

Bun Filling

  • 50g butter
  • ½ dl brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup Blueberry filling (see recipe below)

 

Blueberry filling

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen berries of any kind (I used blueberries)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoon honey to taste
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Blueberry Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon of blueberry filling

 

Blueberry filling Directions

In a small saucepan, add the blueberries and bring to a gentle boil. Let them soften a bit and add in the remaining ingredients. After a few minutes of gently simmering, puree into a desired smoothness with a hand-held blender. I left some chunks to add a bit of texture. Bring back to gentle simmer and let the filling thicken. Leave to side to cool.

Blueberry Glaze Directions

Make a traditional frosting by mixing together powdered sugar and a bit of milk. Use a lot more sugar (1/2 cup) than milk (1-2 teaspoons) for a thick glaze. Take a tablespoon of the blueberry filling and mix it into the glaze so it turns it a wonderful purple color.

 

Directions for Buns (1 ½ hour) 23cm x 12cm bread tin

In a large bowl, add the dry yeast to the warm milk and allow it to dissolve by stirring. Mix in the egg, sugar, cardamum and salt. Slowly, pour in the flour kneading it along the way. Add in the melted butter in the end. The dough is supposed to be soft so that you can just remove it from your fingers and so it does not stick to the bowl. Allow the dough to rest (under a kitchen towel in a warm spot) for 20minutes.

Meanwhile the dough is resting, make the blueberry filling and allow it to cool.

Knead the dough on a flat surface. Spread some flour on the surface so the dough does not stick to it. Roll out the dough into a rectangle so it is thin enough to roll it later. Then spread the softened butter all over along with a dusting of brown sugar. Spread the blueberry filling mainly in the center of the dough so it is easier to roll. Then roll the dough, it does not matter if it does not look perfect. Make sure the seam is on the bottom so it is easier to cut. Cut into enough pieces that fit our baking tray.  I used a smaller bread tin that was 6cm in height so I cut roughly the same length rolls. Butter your bread/cake tin and place the rolls “standing up” alongside each other, all along the tin. Place the kitchen towel on top and let them rest for 15 minutes before baking.

Add little knobs of butter on top of each roll and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Bake in the oven at 225 Celsius degrees for 8-10 minutes so they are crispy on top but soft on the inside.

Eat either straight from the oven or let them cool. Pour the blueberry glaze on top before serving.

Easy Apple Pie

 

 

‘Apple season calls for an apple Pie’

We picked an entire basket full of apples from my brothers and sister-in laws apple tree, so it was time to get creative and make some pies, smoothies and hopefully jam in the next couple of days. Seasonal apples are so delicious, I love the sourness and almost tangy peel with that punch of sweetness it gives from the middle. I cannot believe that September is almost over and that in a week we are in October already. But before pumpkin season takes over, September is giving us constant rays of sunshine. Even though it’s relatively warm here at the moment and the days are filled with lots of light, I can’t help myself but to transition into moodier darker photography. As autumn approaches, I start to admire coal colored wooden backdrops, dark grey linens and a setting that is dimmed down when taking images. Candle light is desirable and it’s the time of year when being at home becomes that much more pleasant as evenings getting darker and cozier.

This apple pie recipe is solid proof, as it is quick and easy and cannot be messed up. The base is basically made from egg, a bit of sugar and flour (with a few spices etc. co) that is then poured on top of apples and baked for thirty minutes. You can make this pie on a baking tray, an oven dish or a cake tray, whatever you have handy at your reach. You can also spice up the batter with your favorite flavors, this one calls for cinnamon and cardamom. Enjoy the pie just like that with a cup of black tea or serve it with vanilla sauce or ice-cream, as you would traditionally.

 

Apple Pie Ingredients

  • 7 small apples
  • 3 eggs
  • 2dl sugar
  • 100g melted butter
  • 1 dl cashew milk
  • 3dl flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

Toppings: Walnuts, apple slices, sprinkling of sugar & cinnamon

Directions

 

  1. Cut the majority of apples into smaller cubes. For the topping, cut several apples into small slices that you press on top of the batter
  2. With a handheld blender, beat the eggs and sugar until frothy. Add in the melted butter. Then add in the dry ingredients and milk.
  3. If you are using a cake tin, line it with butter and coat the sides with a little bit of flour to prevent the pie from sticking to the edges.
  4. Pour the apple cubes into the bottom, add the batter on top. Press the apple slices on top along with some walnuts. Brush the apple slices with some melted butter and add a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven of 200 degrees Celsius for 30 min.

Herb Parmesan Shortbreads

These easy to make savoury shortbreads have a hint of parmesan and fresh herbs that makes a great little addition for a cheese platter. I love the way the fresh herbs looks and tastes on top of the cracker and these little savoury treats are a useful thing to know how to bake throughout the year. Not only are they great during garden party season, but similarily all through the festive winter season. Visiting friends over New Years? Why not bake these as a little gift…

Shortbread ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Extra herb leaves (thyme, sage, rosemary) for garnishing

Directions

Put the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt, and pepper into a food processor. Add in the soft chunks of butter and pulse once in a while so the dough begins to combine and crumble. Do this about 30 times and then remove it from the bowl. If the dough does not seem to stick together, you can add a drop of water.

Form the dough into a disk and place cling film around it. Place into the fridge for an hour.

Once the dough has chiled, take it out of the fridge and roll it out on a flat surface. Place a little flour on top soi t does not stick to your rolling pin. Spread of the leaves of herbs and roll them with the rolling pin so they stick better to the dough. I noticed that thyme sticks very well as it is soft and rosemary was a bit more difficult to get to stay. Press the dough with a cookie cutter and put on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle some maldon salt on top.

Bake in the oven (180c) for about 10-15 minutes until the cookies turn a bit golden. Leave to cook on a rack before serving.

French-style Pear Tart

‘French style Easter Pear tart’

Currently I’m feeling very inspired by all-things-provence. It must be from the numerous hours of pinterest scrolling through lavender-filled towns or that we just booked tickets there with my hubby or the fact that we watched the movie “good year” yesterday.  Anyways, all things french country are very inspirational to me at the moment, thus this Easter pear treat falls just into that similar category. I had tiny pears leftover in the fridge, so I thought I’d make better use of them for the sake of palm sunday.  This semi-sweet panettone style tart is great over slow mornings or a coffee break if you are craving for an easy treat. It can be decorated to your liking with tiny easter eggs or keep it simple and chic with a gentle sprinkling of icing sugar and a few twigs of herbs. It has a simple syrup vanilla flavour that merges well with the sweetness of the moist pears. This recipe is totally easy to make as it requires no skills and minimal effort, hence, it’s perfect!

Have a wonderful sweet sunday! 

Easter Pear tart (small tart 12cm diameter cake tin)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 small pears
  • 1 tablespoon, finely crunched hazelnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil ( + brushing olives)
  • butter (for lining parchment paper)

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, nuts and spices. Add in the yogurt, egg, syrup, vanilla, olive oil and mix into a smooth batter. Line your cake tray with parchment paper that is lined with butter. Pour in the batter. Add the full-sized tiny pears into the center. Brush the pears with olive oil. Place into a preheated oven of 170 celsius degrees for about 30-40 minutes until the center of the cake is cooked. Garnish with herbs if you which (such as thyme or mint) or add a sprinkling of icing sugar.

pear tart3 (1 of 1)

 

 

 

Butter-eyed Buns & Gentle Pinks

The weekend is here and with the chilly temperatures and gentle snowflakes falling into the ground, all I want to do is stay indoors under a warm black, light some candles and sip on numerous cups of delicious tea. And what is best accompanied by some tea? A little sweet bun that screams of comfort! My hubby and I spent yesterday in Tallinn for a little Valentines Day getaway and came back home really late, so today it’s all about a cozy friday in.

Get your blankets and books out! Home made butter-eyed buns (voisilmä pulla) are a finnish sort of “buttery bun” that are devilishly good with an eruption of butter and sugar oozing from the center. The more sugar and butter you put in the middle of each bun, the better they become. This cardamom infused bun makes a lovely simple weekend treat if your sugar craving is kicking in. Ps. Despite it being full on winter outside, my mind has transitioned to spring already and I’m loving the sunnier longer days. I’m all about the gentle pale colours from dove greys to pink cablis and ready for delicate spring flowers.

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Traditonal Butter-eyed Buns

ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 dl milk
  • 10g yeast
  • 1 egg (+1 extra for brushing)
  • 0,5 sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 30g butter (room temperature)

Filling

  • 6 tablespoons cold butter (or 6 cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the crumbled yeast into warm milk. Add sugar, egg, the spices and part of the flour. Mix into a smooth dough. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time while kneading the dough until it easily comes off from the side of the bowl. Mix in the butter. Double the dough in size by leaving it to rest in a warm place with kitchen towel on top of it.

Knead the dough (may need flour for this) and form 6 buns out of it. Place the buns onto a baking tray with parchment paper underneath. Let them rest and raise some more.

Poke a dent with your finger into the middle of each bun. Brush the buns with the remaining of the egg. Into each dent, add some butter (about 1 teaspoon), sugar (1/2 teaspoon) and flour (1/2 teaspoon). Sprinkle some coarse sugar on top of each bun.

Bake the buns in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for about 10 minutes.

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