Yummy Apple Cake

I love all kinds of apple desserts. And apples are available all year round. This is a very easy apple pie recipe given to me by my son-in-law. I’ve made it many times and it never fails. When baking this cake or any any dessert with apples, such as apple crisp or apple pie, it’s important to use apples suitable for baking. Baking apples hold their shape when cooked, so the chunks of fruit won’t turn into applesauce in the oven. Tart-sweet varietals such as Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Jonagold are all great options. Feel free to combine different varieties for a more nuanced flavor

PREP TIME 10 MIN COOK TIME 50-60 MIN

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g apples of your choice
  • 200g flour
  • 140g sugar
  • 75g butter, melt and let cool
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 16g baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • dash of sugar and cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and flour a 22-24cm springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift the baking powder into the flour and add salt. Add the flour and the liquids (milk with the melted butter) to the batter in a few batches folding with a rubber spatula.
  4. Fold in 3/4 of the peeled and diced apples (slice 1/4 of the apples) and the zest of lemon.
  5. Pour into the baking pan. Add the remaining apple slices in a circle on top of the batter and sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on top.
  6. Bake at 180C for 50-60 min until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool and move to a serving plate.

BUON APPETITO!

Zebra cake

Zebra cake is like a marble cake but a little flashier. I baked it as a single layer cake or a bundt cake but you can easily bake two cakes and make it double or maybe even a triple.

prep time 15 min cook time 30+ min

ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 120 g sugar
  • 80 ml sunflower or peanut oil
  • 200 ml milk
  • 220 g flour
  • 16 g baking powder, sifted
  • 40 g dark cocoa powder
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C and grease and flour a round baking pan. I used a silicon one.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the oil and 150 ml of milk and beat together.
  4. Add the flour in batches and mix well. Add also sifted baking powder and mix.
  5. Divide the batter into two bowls. Add in one the cocoa powder and the remaining 50 ml of milk. Beat well.
  6. Start by pouring 2 Tablespoons of the cream batter on one side of the pan and then adding 2 Tbls of the cocoa batter on top. Keep alternating the two batters on the same spot without moving the pan. The batters will slide and mix by themselves into a striped pattern.

7. Bake the zebra cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

BUON APPETITO!

Fluffy lemon ricotta bundt cake

Moist and fluffy lemon ricotta bundt cake is perfect for a dessert or even for a Sunday brunch or why not, for a sweet breakfast. The ricotta makes it super moist and airy. For a fancier version you can drizzle lemon glaze on top instead of sprinkling powdered sugar. Up to you.

prep time 15 min     cook time 50 min + 15 min cooling time
ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 220 g sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 100 g sunflower or peanut oil
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 80 g potato starch/corn starch
  • 260 g flour
  • 16 g baking powder
  • powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

1.  Preheat oven to 180 C. Oil and flour a 24-26cm bundt cake pan.

2. In a large bowl cream together the eggs and sugar until well combined.

2. Add zest and juice of lemon, beat some more, add the oil and then ricotta and beat until light and fluffy.

3. Keep beating and add potato starch and then in a few batches the flour where you have mixed the baking powder.

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 min before turning out onto a wire rack.

5. When the bundt cake is completely cooled, sprinkle the powdered sugar (or drizzle the lemon glaze) on top.

BUON APPETITO!

Apple loaf cake

Easy peasy soft and moist apple yogurt cake coming up.

prep time 15 min     cook time 55 min
ingredients
  • 250 g flour
  • 250 g plain yogurt
  • 3 small or 2 big apples
  • 160 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 130 g melted butter
  • 16 g baking powder
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbls cinnamon
    1. Pre heat oven to 180 C
    2. Grease and lightly flour a loaf pan. (10cm x 30cm)
    3. Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Add the zest, yogurt and  melted butter (cool) and beat for additional 2-3  minutes.
    4. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir into the wet batter mixing just until combined.
    5. Peel 2 small apples (or 1,5 if you have big apples), slice them thinly or cut into small cubes and add to the batter.
    6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and add one apple (or the half of the big one) thinly sliced on top of the batter. Sprinkle little bit of sugar and cinnamon on top.
    7. Bake for about 55 minutes at 180C or until the toothpick comes out clean. The yogurt and the apples make the cake very moist. You can garnish the loaf with some confectioner’s sugar.

BUON APPETITO!

Cherry cake

This fluffy cherry cake is delicious. When in season look for  cherries that are bright dark red, shiny, plump, and quite firm and make sure there is no browning around the stems. Once we have the cherries, we need to remove the pits which is a tedious job but so worth it. Other than pitting the cherries, there’s nothing complicated in making this cake.

prep time 20 min     cook time 45-55 min

ingredients
  • 450 g cherries, pitted
  • 110 g flour
  • 70 g potato starch flour ( or corn starch)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g sugar + 2 Tbls
  • 80 g butter, melted or 75 ml oil (peanut, sunflower)
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbls vanilla extract
  • 8 g baking powder
    1. Rinse, dry and pit the cherries and cut them in half.
    2. Pre heat oven to 180C.
    3. Butter and flour lightly a spring form pan, mine was 22cm,  and sprinkle 2 Tbls of sugar on the bottom and cover it with cherry halves.

    This is how it was explained in the original recipe and I followed it to a t. The end result was this, but I didn’t like it so I flipped the cake 🙂

4. Mix together the flour, potato starch and baking powder.

5. In another bowl beat the eggs, sugar, orange zest and vanilla until thick and light coloured. Pour the melted, cool butter beating with the mixer. Add the dry ingredients and beat lightly just so they are mixed.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan on top of the cherries. Add the rest of the cherries on top. Some of them will sink into the batter.

7. Bake for 45-55 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I don’t know about you, put I prefer this to the “bottoms up” version. But hey, the taste is the same.

Tip: A common problem when adding a heavy fruit like cherries to a cake batter is that the fruit tends to sink to the bottom of the pan during baking. While this in no way affects the flavor of the cake, it does not allow us to appreciate the cherry’s full beauty. One way to avoid the sinking is to add the cherries on top of the batter like in this recipe, or mix a part of them in the batter and add the rest after the cake has baked about 15 minutes.

BUON APPETITO!

Lemon muffins

I love lemon in desserts, lemon on meat and fish, limoncello so I had to try these simple fluffy lemon muffins. They are even more delicious with the lemon drizzle topping. They turned out way better than my first attempt at muffins. They were really good: moist and fluffy and lemony 🙂

I also learned a valuable trick. You don’t need a mixer to make these muffins. They are made by using the muffin method, which means mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, the liquids in another bowl and then combining the two together with a spoon or a spatula. No beating required.

prep time 15 min     cook time 20 min
ingredients for 12 muffins
for the muffins
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 135 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 g  plain yogurt
  • 85 g butter, melted
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
for the lemon glaze
  • 120g powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbls lemon juice
    1. Preheat oven to 220 C. Butter 12 muffin cups or line them with liner paper.
    2.  In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix in the sugar and lemon zest.
    3. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the yogurt, melted butter, lemon juice and vanilla extract, if using, just until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or a spatula just until combined. Do not over mix. The batter should be thick and lumpy.
    4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups almost all the way to the top.
    5. Bake for 3 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180C and continue to bake for additional 15-17 min or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
    6. For the lemon drizzle topping sift in a small bowl the powdered sugar. Add lemon juice until you achieve desired consistency (pourable).
    7. When the muffins are cooled, pour the drizzle over the muffins.

Tip:  I prefer to butter or oil the muffin tray and put the muffins into pretty liner paper cups after baking them. Otherwise they stick to the paper.

    Tip: the muffins are best the same day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or they can be frozen for a few months.
    BUON APPETITO!

Strawberry cheesecake

Another favourite of mine is the strawberry cheesecake. With a creamy filling and a buttery biscuit base, who can resist this classic dessert?

prep time 20 min  + refrigerating time 4 hrs
ingredients
for the crust
  • 200g Digestive biscuits
  • 100g melted butter
for the filling
  • 10 g gelatine sheets
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 250g whipping cream
  • 250g strawberry yogurt
  • 90g powdered sugar
for the topping
  • 500g strawberries
  • 2 Tbls sugar + 1 lemon for juicing
  • 70g sugar
  • 30g corn starch

1. Clean and chop the strawberries, add 2 Tbls of sugar and the lemon juice and let marinate, preferably overnight.

2. Line a 26 cm round springform pan with a baking paper on the bottom.

3. Crush the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin into a fine crumb. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, then pour over the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated. Tip them into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Refrigerate for 15-20 min.

4. Put the gelatine sheets in a shallow bowl with cold water.

5. Whip the cream cheese together with the yogurt and the cream, add the powdered sugar and whip some more.

6. Squeeze the gelatine sheets and place in a small pot with a few Tbls of water. Turn on the heat to low and let the gelatine melt, about 1 minute. Add this to the cream and pour the filling over the crumb base. Let refrigerate for 3 hrs.

7. After 3 hrs, separate the juice from the strawberries and add water to make 400 ml of diluted strawberry juice. Place it in a pot on a stove top, add 80 g of sugar and 30g of corn starch and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes.

8. Add the juice to the strawberries and pour the mixture over the cake. Let set for 1 hour in the fridge.

BUON APPETITO!

 

Banana carrot zucchini muffins

I’m dipping my toes into muffin baking with alternating results. This recipe sounded delicious and healthy so I decided to give it a go. The muffins were delicious and moist, but not perfect. It just means I have to try again!

prep time 30 min     cook time 20-30 min
ingredients for 12 muffins
  • 220 g flour
  •  110 g sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 170 g peeled and grated carrots
  • 130 g grated zucchini
  • 135 g mashed, ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 g vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl gently toss together the carrots, zucchini and bananas. Pour the liquid egg mixture over the grated vegetables and bananas and fold in gently to combine.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in until just combined.
    5. Scoop the batter gently into greased or lined muffin tins.
    6. Bake for 8 min at 200 C, then rotate the pan and reduce the temperature at 175C. Bake for additional 10-11 minutes (I needed almost 20 min) or until the toothpick comes out  clean.
    7. Leave muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle a little bit of powdered sugar on top.
    BUON APPETITO!

Nectarine cake

Hot summer days are perfect for enjoying this fresh nectarine cake. You can make it with nectarines like I did or use fresh peaches. Easy to make and the yogurt makes it moist. Super simple ingredients, super easy to make.

prep time 20 min     cook time 45-55 min
ingredients
  • 5 nectarines or yellow peaches
  • 200g flour
  • 150g plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g sugar + 2 Tbls on top
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or seeds from half a pod
  • 16g or 1 1/2 Tbsp of baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and flour a springform pan. Mine is 24cm.

2. Start by dicing 3 nectarines and slicing 2. Measure all your ingredients into bowls.

3. Beat the eggs with sugar, vanilla and lemon zest for a few minutes to obtain a frothy and light batter.

4. Add the oil and then the yogurt (I only had strawberry so I made do with that) and keep beating. Then add the flour where you have sifted the baking powder.

5. Add the diced nectarines to the batter and mix with a wooden spoon.

6. Pour the batter into the springform pan and place the nectarine slices on top.

7. Bake at 180C for 45-55 (my oven required a full hour) until the nectarines are caramelised and the toothpick or cake pick comes out clean.

8. When the cake is still warm, sprinkle 2 Tbsp of sugar on top. Let cool for 15 minutes, then move to a serving plate.

BUON APPETITO!

Brownies

Had a craving for brownies yesterday so I dug up an old recipe. Didn’t even have to go to the store since I had all the ingredients at home.

prep time 10 min     cook time 25-30 min
ingredients
  • 150g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 75g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 eggs, cold
  • 70g flour
  • 75g walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20 x 20 cm baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Cut 150g unsalted butter into small cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Add sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

3. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl in the pan. Put over a low heat until the butter and cocoa powder have melted, stirring occasionally to mix them.

4. Let cool for a moment.

5. Add the vanilla extract if using and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well. When the batter is thick and homogeneous, stir in the flour and the chopped nuts. Mix well but fast.

6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 180C for about 25 min.

7. Let cool and cut into squares.

BUON APPETITO!