Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

imageThere is a lot of things that is bitter-sweet at the moment as we go into winter.I love winter but do not feel entirely ready for it. My friend Ina is such a clever woman, not only with food. She cooks in a way that is familiar because it is traditional and exciting because there is always a new twist. Those are the things that inspire me.

Flourless Citrus Cake

Flourless Citrus Cake

She invented this cake and it is as clever as it is delicious.I particularly like the bitterness with just the right amount of sweetness to it and it is not a cake you quickly whip up(as if I ever do….) but rather one of those that you do over a weekend which will make your house smell like an orange orchard when you need to be reminded of that smell!.

Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

Use: 250 gr ground almonds/almond flour, 5ml baking powder, 6 eggs, 1 cup castor sugar and 2 oranges, cream.

Boil oranges for 2 hours in water-fill up with water as you go Liquidise/process the whole oranges to form a soft pulp Beat eggs and sugar Add oranges to egg mix, followed by ground almonds, baking powder and grated peel of one orange(optional)-mix through. Use a lined cake tin and bake at 160 degrees C for 1hour 30 minutes. Served with whipped cream.

Brandy Sauce optional:-but very nice! Equal quantities brandy, water and sugar-I used 125ml each Boil to a thin syrup and pour over the cake and serve with cream.

Orange Cake with brandy sauce

Orange Cake with brandy sauce

Random photo: Goodbye summer

St Helena Bay gems

St Helena Bay gems

Shell art.

Draaihoek Lodge West Coast between St Helena Bay and Elands Bay

Draaihoek Lodge West Coast between St Helena Bay and Elands Bay

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Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

Jingle Bells!

Jingle Bells!

Open Sesame! The ark is open here in Cape Town. If you exit a door you fall over a tourist, or their cameras, whichever. There is defenitely a sense of expectation in the air and I like it! My sister over at nowathome and I are so giddy with excitement, awaiting the Christmas visit of our other sister(the real baker) that we ourselves started baking in a big way. We had to get the Chrismas cakes going you see, so that it can be topped up with brandy in the month to come to be ready for the event(s) planned. At this stage all of the events include either eating or wine tasting or cheese and chocolate tasting on the farms and I still do not know how it happened but we ended up baking 11 Christmas cakes and 3 cheese- chocolate fridge cake doodah thingies all on the same day. The recipes for the two types of fruit cake ( one dark and full of spices and the other light and buttery) are both posted on nowathome as she is much better with weighing and measuring things than me, so she wrote it all out for us.

Fruit cake jewels

Fruit cake jewels

Talk about overkill, but I figured this amount of cakes would do for the family birthdays and other visitors comming and going before THE VISIT of my other sis on the 24th of December. A cake gift here and there to others won’t hurt either (guilty concience perhaps). So a lot of messing and testing going on inbetween.

Oops....

Oops….

I made the chocolate- cheese fridge cake as a birthday cake for my husband and followed my mother’s recipe, which used to be my birthday cake-wish every year.

Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

I made two of them the traditional way and the other one my way by adding Turkish Delight to the already unholy concoction of fattening stuff, but well, it was for his birthday and all that.

Layering

Layering

The old fashioned triangular shape I kept because it is just too precious to change and it will always remind me of my mother.

Shaping

Shaping

Ingredients: 

1 cup sugar, 2 x 500 gr full cream cottage cheese, 3/4 cup butter, 1 egg, 2 packets biscuits, 1 t vanilla, glazed cherries, chocolate flake( optional) 2 slabs milk chocolate, tin foil. I replaced the cherries with Turkish Delight and used dark chocolate as an alternative.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well. Add cottage cheese and vanilla. Place 4 biscuits in a row, 5 or more down on a well greased piece of tin foil. Spread cheese mix over the biscuits and repeat the biscuit layer this time 3 in a row and spread again. On top of the last cheese blanket place the cherries and flake( or Turkish Delight) and by placing your hands under the tin foil, form a triangle, close the tin foil and smooth the tin foil out with your hands to tidy and neaten the triangular shape. Freeze over night or at least 3 to 4 hours

The nice part:

Melt the chocolate over a double bouler and spread over the frozen cheese cake, thickness to your taste. Freeze open for  half and hour and then you can close the foil loosely to keep in the freezer. Thaw for about 10 minutes before you cut slices so that the chocolate does not break or flake.

Chocolate cover

Chocolate cover

Everyone swears it is the most heavenly creation they have ever tasted. I agree and I solemnly promise not to have it more than once a year. My sister ( the real baker) says her hand luggage is allready filled with her baked goods, ready to fly over for the festivities so I honestly do not know where on the scales we are all going to end up this summer…..

Fridge Cake

Fridge Cake

Random Photo:

I dreamed I could fly

I dreamed I could fly

Strawberry Cheese Cake and Nut Crumble

Today, as the saying goes: I shall stay in the moment…..unless of course I do not like the moment, in which case I shall take a nap!

Pink heaven

Pink heaven

I recently made this cheese cake originally blogged by drizzleanddip and it is honestly the nicest nut crumble I have ever had. The photo’s are not great as the light faded fast and a retake or re-do is time wise just not an option.

Recipe – makes 12 individual portions( however in this house only enough for 6….)
Nut crumble
250 g flour, 170 g butter, 110 g macadamia nuts, 110 g almonds, 110 g Demerara sugar, 1/2 t vanilla extract.

To make the crumble topping, preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 3. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture is the texture of breadcrumbs. Spread out the crumble on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, being sure to stir the crumble mixture every 10 minutes. Remove when the mixture is golden brown and set aside to cool.

None of the utensils I have, wanted to work properly so I made the crumble in batches with my nifty little blender thingy I bought in Turkey. Yip, that was in the suitcase too!

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Cheesecake

125 g crème fraîche, 225 g Philadelphia cheese, 100 g icing sugar, 150 ml Strawberry Syrup (plus extra to garnish), 250 ml cream, 3 leaves Gelatine, Fresh strawberries for garnish.
For the cheesecake, soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, and use a little bit of the cream and melt the gelatine over a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, sugar, and strawberry syrup (I used an electric stand mixer with whisk attachment). Put the cream in a separate bowl and whisk until stiff. Gently fold the gelatine into the cream mix and gradually fold the stiff cream into the cream cheese mixture little by little until completely combined.
To assemble the cheesecake, spoon out a layer of crumble at the bottom of your serving glass and top with a good dollop of strawberry cheesecake mix. refrigerate until ready to serve.
Decorate with a drizzle of strawberry syrup and a few slices of fresh strawberries.image

I made my own strawberry syrup by boiling frozen strawberries and sugar and blitzing it into a pulp.

Rich ingredients but not too rich in taste at all, only heavenly in fact .

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Random Photo:

Cheers to November!

Cheers to November!

A Citrus Cake and Thank You’s

image I really only bake a cake every few years and I baked this one to prevent myself from going to jail for a serious crime. I like baking but food is more my thing, I am not exact when cooking and the exactness of baking is what gets to me. I moved office this past week, just from one end of a building to the other end of the same building and it was an epic mess. Everything was planned to a T and then derailed. The painters were late, which held up a whole string of events, like actually moving over, which moving eventually had to proceed even with the wet paint on the walls and the paint fumes in the air. The telephone lines were switched over to the new bigger space, so that the IT people could co-ordinate with the cabling people to get the WiFipeople and computer server people to do what they needed to do to get my office up and running and it worked. Only for a split second. Between moving Day 1 and @&$)@&$&: moving Day 2, the telephone lines just died. There we were, half in and half out and no connectivity and now indication from the service provider when and where a technician will grace us with his presence to fix the lot. We unpacked whatever we could, I sent the staff home and literally sat and watched the paint dry, hung on walls what needed to be up there unpacked again, reshuffled and can still not work at the office-NO CONNECTIVITY.

Proof that I baked it myself

Proof that I baked it myself

That is when I started baking. To fix my muddled brain with a bit of exactness and to prevent me from killing someone, a painter, a cabling man, an IT person or  whoever was unlucky enough to be close by. Between aforesaid moving Day 1 and  @&$$)$)()5;()&  moving Day 2 (and pardon for repeating myself, but moving Day 2 should never have been a moving day if it was not for the for THE PAINter people !) , I could of course not sleep and fantasized about the Italian Orange Cake posted by Chef Mimi. So that is what I baked this weekend as a thank you to my husband, my sister and brother-in-law who helped me through this epic mess.I deviated slightly from the original recipe by using buttermilk instead of milk and made a frosting with cream cheese.

Italian Orange Cake

Italian Orange Cake

For cake ingredients and method, see Italian Orange Cake posted by Chef Mimi (and thank you for keeping me out of jail) and the cream cheese frosting I made as follows:

Mix together until smooth:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup icing sugar(confectioners’ sugar)

1 cup cream cheese

1 t vanilla extract( I replaced it with a teaspoon of orange blossom extract)

I want my cake and eat it

I want my cake and eat it

Thank you also to fellow bloggers bakering , mrschoux  and polianthus for the nominations, this cake is also for you! I am better at asking questions than answering them so I will rather present this cake to you as a token of appreciation.

Random Photo:

Another kitch but stunning Cape Town sunset to keep me sane for a little longer.

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Mother of a High Tea

Deconstructed milk tart cups

Deconstructed milk tart cups

True to form, the big fat zero birthday celebration I mentioned here had to be themed and that is where the confusion as per usual started. How can I choose just one theme?? What we called “high tea” was in the end anything but, as I put together a view of my favourite things, added to that the drinks I like most and in the end no one even had a proper cup of tea!

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I always wanted to try the deconstructed milk tart and cinnamon twirls posted by Anel on http://www.lifeisazoobiscuit.com , so I did. My sister Aletta threw herself into a baking and blog frenzy when I asked her to make scones and lemon curd as I am no good at making the perfect scones(too precise).

Scones and lemon curd. Recipe on " nowathome"

Scones and lemon curd. Recipe on ” nowathome”

She went on her own solo scones baking challenge to find the best one and the result and recipes are posted on http://www.nowathome.wordpress.com and the best choice landed on my party table! The lemon curd, absolutely to die for!

I made a french onion tart (recipe will eventually be posted) or three which is the easiest thing of all and had to have a fruit and cheese platter, as nothing, not even a tea is complete without cheese.

Cheese and fruit platter

Cheese and fruit platter

My daughter, all the way from South Korea, via email arranged for a beautiful birthday cake, baked by Charly’s Bakery in Cape Town and the daisy theme (very 60’s!) describes me best. Sixties flower child at heart………

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I think the theme was “pink” in the end! The pretty flower arrangements will have to be a story for another day.

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Chocolate Brownies and Birthday wishes

My sister Aletta and I went to the Palms Market in Woodstock, Cape Town yesterday where I bought wonderful dark chocolate and Java cacao powder. The market inspired her so much that she started her own blog! Her first post is on http://nowathome.wordpress.com

I am not big on the baking thing as I am very much a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” cook and as we all know, baking is very much an exact science (at least for me it is) and I really need to be in the mood to bake, which inevitably I was due to the chocolate buying. Hilda that works for us in the week had her Birthday yesterday and it is the perfect excuse to use the chocolate and bake some brownies which will be waiting for her when she gets here tomorrow. image I found the recipe on the blog of http//:kitchenbound.wordpress.com posted as “the ultimate fudge brownie” who says that she is very particular about what clogs up her arteries and I so agree. This is really clog-worthy. The recipe ingredients and method can be found on her site.

The urge(need) to bake grabbed me very early in the morning and as can be seen in the photo below, my slippers and pajamas were part of the baking process…….and so was the bowl scraping and spoon licking. image Aletta gave me a brand new silicone baking sheet which I used instead of lining the baking tray-it works perfectly. The recipe is very easy and the fudge brownies are crunchy and moist.image image I am leaving on a business trip tomorrow (I hate leaving Cape Town, just thought I’ll throw that in there) so by the time Hilda starts tomorrow, I will be on my way to Johannesburg. Of course it gave me a good reason to have my own coffee and cake party tonight just to see if I did it all right for Hilda! image