Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Stollen

Did you see it? That baked good that snuck into the post of marzipan? Behold the Stollen! This bread doesn't only sneak it's way into posts, but also manages to sneak into several traditions in 'quite a few' countries all over the world. Today, this sweet bread filled with dried fruits is going to be a Christmas tradition. It is Christmas after all!


A part of me is assuming you know what Stollen is. Christmas bread? Christmas stollen? It probably goes by a lot of names that I don't know of. It certainly doesn't go by the name Sweet-bread-studded-with-dried-fruits-and-filled-with-marzipan, which is what it is. If you didn't know it already, you should be getting an idea now right? Have I made you hungry?


Ah yes, the recipe. Once I'd written down the ingredients and steps everything in me went "wauw, that's a long list!". But don't worry, it's really just making bread. Most of the time is spent waiting for the bread to rise. You probably have most of the ingredients in your house as well. So here goes, don't freak out okay?

Stollen
1 very large loaf - adapted from Bread

150 grams sultanas and currants
3-5 tablespoons rum
375 grams bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
50 grams sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
7 grams dried yeast (1 3/4 teaspoon)
120 ml milk
50 grams butter
1 egg
50 grams almonds
50 grams chopped mixed (candied) peel
Marzipan *

1. Take a small bowl for the sultanas and currants and cover them with the rum. Set aside to soak. (If you leave to soak overnight you'll get a much more prominent rum flavour).
2. Sift the flour, salt, sugar, and spices together into your bread machine if you're using one.
3. Heat the milk until lukewarm and add the yeast. Pour this into an indent in the dry ingredients. Using a fork, break down the 'walls' of flour around the edges until you get a very thick batter. You'll still have some flour at the sides. Leave this for 30 minutes to rise (cover with a damp cloth or foil).
4. Melt the butter, leave it to cool slightly and beat the egg in. Pour the mixture over the risen 'bread' and start the bread machine on dough setting. If you do not own a bread machine or do not want to use it, then knead the ingredients for about 10 minutes, then leave to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
5.Once risen, knead the dough again to remove large air bubbles. Sprinkle the fruits and nuts over the dough and knead until everything is fully incorporated.
6. Roll the dough out into a long thin oval. Shape the marzipan into a cylinder shape that is slightly shorter than the length of your bread. Place the marzipan onto your dough and fold the dough over the marzipan to seal it in.
7. Turn the bread around (seam-side down) and place on a baking sheet. Leave to rise for 30-40 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size.
8. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Brush with butter (optional: it makes the top shiny) and leave to cool completely.
9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving! (also optional)

* Let's face it: a REAL stollen has marzipan in it. So I'm not going to mark this as optional, however I will allow you to omit the marzipan if you're not a fan of it. You know, if I have to!

I realize the recipe may come a bit late for those of you who want to eat this for Christmas (there is still time for New Years though?). But don't worry! This bread is perfect for any morning breakfast or brunch all year long. Or if you want to eat this for a special occasion: wait till Easter! Every year people complain about the fact that Easterbread is exactly the same as the Christmas Stollen in a different package. It is really, but I don't see the point in complaining. Shouldn't we be happy that we have a very good and pressing reason to eat this more than once a year?



I hope you have/had a Very Merry Christmas with lots of presents and lots of food 
and above all lots and lots of fun!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Freedom! Which means time to eat: Marzipan

YES! Real and actual freedom!
For those of you who haven't noticed: my last post was 3 weeks ago. *gasp* December has been a tough month for me. I didn't even get to prepare for Christmas! With just a few days till our Christmas dinner, I don't even have a proper dress yet. (Yes, it is important to buy a new dress every year)

All I've been doing is thesis, thesis, thesis. But there has been one moment of "I will bloody well MAKE a break for myself now", which showered my family in Marzipan!


My grandma said making marzipan was impossible. According to her it needed a month's preparation at least. Well, I made it in about 15-20 minutes and it was done the next day. Only problem was that my break turned out to be so short I had more time for homework.

Marzipan
400 grams: enough to fill one large bread, never enough for eating

100 grams almonds* or almond flour
300 grams powdered sugar
egg white or water

1. Grind the almonds until very fine. A little kitchen chopper/food processor worked perfectly for me. I added a bit of almond flour to the almonds to make sure they didn't turn into a paste.
2. Add the powdered sugar and process again.
3. Add enough egg white or water to turn the flour into a very thick paste or dough, using the food processor at first and later your hands to knead the dough. It needs to be the consistency of marzipan, so make sure not to add too much egg white/water and knead properly in between each addition.**
4. Wrap in cling foil and leave to rest in the fridge for a day.

* preferably roasted and without skins
** For a stronger almond taste, you can add almond essence.
Note: if you're using the marzipan for baking within the next 24-36 hours, I recommend using egg.

So after about 20 minutes work, and then a whole day resting, you've got marzipan. And it's delicious! I felt you could taste the almonds so much more than in all those machine-made marzipans with all those extra additives.

Have you ever noticed there are several different types of marzipan? You'll probably be familiar with these two types: marzipan for decorating/'eating plain' and marzipan as 'filling', also known as almond paste. You'll find the last one in some cakes and breads, especially around Christmas. [Almond paste recipe] The process of making almond paste is exactly the same as above, with a few minor adjustments: 1. grind the almonds until 'coarse' not fine. 2. Add lemon rind or juice when kneading. 3. Add slightly more egg or lemon juice to result in a wetter paste.


Another nice idea: increase the amount of almonds! I tried using 200 grams almond flour with 200 grams powdered sugar and it turned out fine. I didn't eat them directly after each other, or even on the same day, so it's hard to compare. But I believe it tasted roughly the same. I'm not sure if it still works if you increase the amount of almond flour to above 50% of the recipe. It might not be sticky enough anymore and fall apart. But what I do know is that the original recipe wasn't overly sweet. It tasted like the marzipan you buy in stores, except the flavour was a bit more subtle while at the same time being a lot more rich.

Oh yes, some store-bought brands use soy flour in stead of almond flour to make marzipan. I've tried this and I really would not recommend it. You can really taste the soy flour! If you like the taste of soy beans than go ahead and use soy flour (Id recommend replacing 25% of the almond flour max.), but it was not a taste I was looking for in home-made marzipan. I think the only reason soy flour is used to replace almond flour is to make the end product cheaper.


I've tried all these little ideas, but I'm sticking to the original. Making almond paste worked out nicely as well. Increasing the amount of almonds was nice, but for me only made the end product more expensive. And using soy flour is definitely not happening again. Perhaps I should've listened to the random woman in Barcelona: "Why not stop at perfection?" (or something along those lines). I should have done that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

*Gasp* A free day! and a Trip to Barcelona

Oh yeah, you saw that! I officially have a day in which I can sit back for at least half the time. I know it's not as exciting as having a whole day off, but now I finally get some time to post something again!
And boy do I have lots to post. Remember I said something about a trip to Barcelona? I think by now it's two weeks ago. So it's about time I show off some pictures!

First of all, it was just a few very short days. They were stuffed full with visiting interesting places like Arc de Triomf, Sagrada Familia, Park Guëll and other historical places. I'm not a tourist kind of person, so there are almost no pictures of these places.

I did get to capture the lizard by Gaudi!
Oh, that lizard is tiny actually. It's on the cover of every folder for Barcelona or the park and it looks massive and great and big and when you stand next to it -if you don't walk past it in the first place- the first thing you will think is: "Is this it? This!?!"

There was even a chocolate museum! It was surprisingly small, but the entry ticket was a chocolate bar and most of the museum was an exhibition of amazing chocolate art so that made up for it. (It was pretty amazing: how many of you can make a life-sized gorilla or human-sized lizard or even an entire park in miniature version out of chocolate?). Did you guys know that chocolate was introduced to Europe through Spain? There's a lot more interesting things I could say about chocolate, but lets leave that for an Oven Info post as I've got enough to share here already!
Look at one of the things I found there:

Looks familiar anyone? I wonder if this hand-driven one is cheaper than those stand mixers you can buy now. I'd definitely buy one if it was.
This chocolate lantern is a mini replica of an actual lantern in one of the largest and most touristic streets in Barcelona: "La Rambla". This street in itself is really not the most special - it's touristic. But in the side roads you'll find the cutest shops and cafés and even a large market inside an even larger tent. FULL of FRESH FRUIT and vegetables. And meat. And fish. Some fresh pastries and candy or a crepestand, but you get my point right?


But look at all that fresh fruit! They had to stack it to fit! All those colours! *nearly dies at this point* And every single piece of fruit of vegetable was so much larger and colourful than the ones we have here. Most of the pictures I took were from this one single market.


I suppose I shouldn't bother you with ALL the pictures. But look at these tomatoes! They look so delicious, Im gonna die! (anyone caught the reference?) They're the kind that's not supposed to turn red: my sister honestly thought they were selling a lot of unripe tomatoes. Oh, you should have been there. There were uncountable different kinds of tomatoes in all different sizes and colours.
And so many varieties of mushrooms as well! Can you see the ones with garlic butter on them? I'm really curious as to what those taste like. They were all over the place there and just looking at them made me drool every time. I couldn't cook them though, or bring them home. Perhaps I should force my sister to buy some and eat them and then give me a review.


Apparently they're not even expensive! What is she waiting for?


My sister said she could buy enough fruits and vegetables for an entire week there for just 5 euros. Here, you'd be lucky to pay 5 euros for a day's supply. I'm so envious of her! It gets worse: she doesn't even like cooking so much. And she had never bought anything at this market!


Oh yes, how could I forget pictures of the candy? Chocolates and dried fruits in the background. We need a place like this here. Desperately.


I bought two of these, and got another 2 as a present from my sister. I'm saving them for Christmas. Apparently, these typical Spanish treats are even meant for Christmas! They are called Turron, Torrons, or Torró (on the packages at least). Some of these are nougat in a whole range of varieties, some are pure chocolate 'truffle' bars and some seem to be some sort of marzipan with lots of extra's on top or inbetween. I have one 'Turron selection' which seems to be almond brittle in different variations. From all that I'm guessing the only requirements for a Torró are almonds and a bar-shape. Yes, I can't wait to try them.

Oh, you thought I'd stop here? Well, I suppose there is a point in which I should stop spamming you with pictures of food. Okay, I'll stop.

I went to Barcelona and I brought home pictures food. Typical.
Now all I need is a Catalonian recipebook, so I can replicate my vacation in my own kitchen. Oh wait, did I forget to mention I finally got to see my sister again after about half a year? Or that I got to see the place she lives? (both my sister and I are astonished at how disorderly young girls are) Or that we went to see flamenco dancing? No? I didn't mention anything about how we were able to sneak my sister into the hotel we stayed at so she could stay with us at night? Or about the time we went Christmas shopping and I got myself a Christmas outfit already? Hmm, how typical.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures of food and drool as much as I do at the sight of all that food!
Also, I hope my enthusiasm for food isn't slathered too thickly all over this post. But I doubt you'd get this far if you didn't share my love for food. I really hope you guys get to visit places like these as well!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sorry! -again-

I'm sorry to say guys, but I'm going to delay today's yesterday's the day before yesterdays post again! With all the work I have for my thesis and other assignments I barely have time to do anything else. On top of that I just came back from vacation yesterday. I could just use a post I have on hold, but I prefer to rant about my vacation tomorrow.. So please look forward to a bit of Barcelona! 

Okay, so if I don't HAVE time, I'll just MAKE time.. 

I give up.

No really, I've been trying a whole week long now! But working on my thesis research took up all my time. We're in the few most important weeks of the research process now, so I spend every moment I can on it. Maybe I have an hour or two this weekend in which I can share what I wanted. Until then: I'm really sorry again!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Brown Betty

After another busy day I get 45 minutes to write a post and then get back to work. I didn't make it. Really, if I had to describe myself now and the past few weeks the only thing that comes to mind is "busy". Too busy to do chores at home, too busy to go Christmas shopping, too busy to sit down and quite frankly, too busy to run a blog. Although I'll be damned if I give up on the one thing that keeps me sane! (Admittedly that's debatable, but at least it keeps me fed.)


I spent a part of my weekend baking up some pumpkin scones, which I thought would be lovely for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And they do go perfect both with soups or with jam and cream, but what I really wanted to share was a Brown Betty. Sounds nice already doesn't it? Basically it's a bread pudding, although I've also seen it described as an apple pie. I tasted it and I don't think it's either although if I had to describe it, it'll be exactly in the middle of both.

A Brown Betty
from Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book [1857]

"Pare, core, and slice thin some fine juicy apples. Cover with the apples the bottom of a large deep white-ware dish. Sweeten them well with plenty of brown sugar; adding grated lemon or orange peel. Strew over them a thick layer of bread-crumbs, and add to the crumbs a very few bits of fresh butter. The put in another layer of cut apples and sugar, followed by a second layer of bread-crumbs and butter. Next more apples and sugar; then more bread-crumbs and butter; repeat this till the dish is full, finishing it with bread-crumbs. Bake it till the apples are entirely done and quite soft. Send it to table hot."

Brown Betty is a recipe that is way older than the oldest person you know right now. That, and then times 2 or 3. It dates all the way back to 1849, but it's quite a bit older considering this is only one of the first times it's written down as a recipe. By then, it was already known throughout the whole of America and even reached as far as England!


Although the recipe above is lovely, some of you might want to have measurements to hold on to. You know, in case you need to go shopping or wonder how much bread you'll have to leave to stale. So just for you I've tested the recipe a few times, and these measurements should definitely work! 

Brown Betty
4 crème brûlée dishes

2 cups (/2 large) apples or pears
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup bread/cake/biscuit crumbs
around 2 tablespoons butter

1. Chop the apples or pears in chunks. Toss in the juice, sugar and cinnamon and set aside for a moment.
2. Crumble the bread to a coarse crumb about as large as or smaller than your apple chunks.
3. Cut the butter into small chunks as well. 
4. Line up your different ingredients, butter a pie (or other) dish and start layering your ingredients. Start with a layer of apples, then a layer of crumbs, then a layer of butter and then back to apple, crumbs, butter etc. until you have filled up the dish. A small crème brûlée dish will have about 2 layers. Try to fill the dish till over the top, as the apple chunks tend to shrink when heated.
5. Put the dish in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius or 360 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes. After 15 minutes the smell of apples and cinnamon will start to fill the room, at this point you might want to check your Brown Betty. If the top looks dark cover the dish with a bit of aluminum foil to prevent it from burning or drying out. 
6. Serve with a dollop of (cinnamon ice) cream on top!

Or another nice serving idea if you've made them in crème brûlée dishes as well: turn them over onto a plate. If it manages to stay in shape (mine did!) then it looks so cute! If it falls apart instead you can call it a hot mess. I doubt anyone will mind the looks of it once they dig in!


Oh yes! Before I forget, you have to check out this link. It's a food time line with a whole lot of American foods and some of their earliest recipe documentation. I've completely fallen in love with all those ancient recipes. Did you ever think of the enormous amount of slightly different versions of Brown Betty? Or that cake pops date back to 1963? Or how about carrot cake: did you know it was imported to America by European settlers, but possibly 'invented' by the Arabians? Amazing!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Speculaas

Now that I mentioned butter, let's try a cookie that relies on butter shall we? Actually I hadn't really thought about it. With Sinterklaas coming up I just had to make 'Speculaas'. Can you still follow me? Saint Nicolas -or Sinterklaas- is a Dutch holiday, in which 'the saint' delivers presents through the chimney on the night of 5 December. It sounds a bit like Christmas doesn't it? And it is actually, the Dutch version of Christmas!


And during that Dutch Christmas people hand out 'speculaas' (among a lot -LOTS- of other sweet stuff). And now I have to explain what it is right? *drums* It's a cookie! Stuffed with all the winter spices you can think of! Most of the time its crunchy, its buttery and it uses dark brown sugar and the combination is amazing. Every year again this whole country goes crazy about speculaas; you're missing out if you haven't tasted it before!

Speculaas
around 30 cookies - adapted from Het etna ovenboek

200 grams flour
100 grams dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons spices
125 butter *
2 tablespoons milk
almonds (optional)

1. Mix the flour with the brown sugar and spices.
2. Add the butter and the milk and knead until an even dough forms. Wrap the dough in foil and leave it in the fridge overnight if you want the flavour to really develop. Feel free to skip that part if you're as impatient as me!
3. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Shape the cookies into any shape you want. Traditionally the speculaas is sold as one large piece with almonds on top or small windmill shapes, sometimes with almonds as well. If you're using molds like mine, make sure to use a lot of (rice) flour to stop them from sticking to your mold! Once you've shaped them place them on a greased or lined oven tray.
5. Bake for around 15-20 minutes until they turn dry and slightly darker.

* Using cold butter will give a crunchier and flakier effect than using room temperature butter.


So, what do you think? Originally self-raising flour is used, but simply flour seemed to work better for me. According to the bakery museum I visited a while back, cookies like these were made two months or so beforehand, so the bakeries could keep up with the demand of these during Sinterklaas. The dough was left to rest for around 2 days before being shaped and baked and in stead of milk they used buttermilk.The cookies were made in such pretty shapes that it was custom to put them on display in the house throughout December. Eventually the speculaas became so tough that it could only be eaten after it was cooked and turned to porridge.


If I were you I wouldn't wait till you can only use this for porridge. Just eat them straight out of the oven! When they're still warm they give off such a lovely smell and they'll still be soft. If you're patient enough for them to cool down you'll find they're really crunchy in stead. Don't forget to add the almonds and oh, what are you waiting for?

Just curious actually, has any of you heard of Sinterklaas through the news now? According to the dutch newspapers we've become famous all over the world for it now, but somewhere I'm seriously doubting people have bothered with it.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Beauty of Butter

I'm late! I know last Thursday was the first Thursday of the month, which should've been my deadline for a new Oven Info post. But I've been juggling too many deadlines and I couldn't make it. (I didn't make any in the end actually) Anyway, a new post! This time I felt like butter! Are you with me?
One thing that surprised me -yet shouldn't have!- is the fact the effects of butter looks so much like milk! When you think about it, butter is made of milk, so you'll find a lot of similarities with the post on Milk.

Taste
Who doesn't love the flavour of butter? It gives a certain rich, sometimes sweet or nutty flavour to our baked goods. Most likely you will have thought of this already and I really don't need to explain the effects butter has on the flavour of our cakes, breads, cookies and other bakes.

Texture
To understand the effects of butter it is important to know the different components of butter. Butter is mainly just milk fat and water. Most commercially sold butters will contain around 80% fat and 15% water. The last 5% consists out of milk solids (proteins and lactose) and sometimes a whole lot of other stuff (like salt, vitamins and colouring). The fat in the butter coats the flour proteins en thus inhibits the formation of gluten. This process results in a soft and tender baked good. Just like in milk, lactose is also responsible for the inhibition of gluten formation. At the same time the small amount of milk proteins will form and toughen the gluten, thus giving a strong crumb to the end product.
          Another effect of butter on texture is its ability to moisturize. Think of the water in  butter, but also the fat can play a large role in binding the dry ingredients together to form a batter or dough. Some cookies rely solemnly on butter to moisturize and combine all the ingredients.
          Lastly, perhaps most importantly, butter also has an effect on the leavening process. Remember leaveners like baking powder and baking soda need a batter that is already aerated? By creaming the butter you beat air into the batter. These captured little air bubbles are later expanded by leaveners, creating the fluffy texture of a baked good. 

Colour 
Let's again look at the components of butter. Lactose, being a sugar, will give a baked good a lovely dark golden colour. At the same time the fat in the butter prevents burning. The effects of butter on colouring can most easily be seen when you brush a bit of butter on top of a loaf. It will give a dark golden shine to it (as well as softening the crust and adding an extra dimension in flavour).

Anything else, dear?
There's one last thing that I have to mention: butter helps preserving the freshness of a baked good and helps extending the shelf life.


Butter vs. Margarine and Shortening
These are three different types of solid fats and can be used interchangeably. But the effect on the flavour is large. While (a solid) margarine might not be too bad, shortening will definitely not compare to the sweet, slightly nutty taste of butter. Substituting butter for margarine or shortening will also have an effect on texture. For instance, margarine and shortening cannot be creamed as easily as butter. When creamed they will create denser cakes and cookies that may dome or collapse after baking. Shortening is more easily distributed through a dough or batter and can more effectively coat the flour particles, thus minimizing gluten formation and maximizing the tenderness of the baked good. Shortening usually doesn't contain water and does not contain milk solids, so it has a different effect on colouring and moisturizing a baked good. Margarine does contain both fat, water and milk solids and can be more easily interchanged with butter. Yet, even though they can be substituted for one another without too many problems, neither will give the same results as a good butter. So if a recipe asks for a large quantity of butter or asks you to cream the butter, try to stick to real butter.

Other fats
Fats are generally divided into two categories: solid fats and liquid fats. The fats within each category can de used interchangeably. Substituting fats from one category with a fat from another is more difficult, especially when the amount exceeds 1-2 tablespoons. The main reason for this is the creaming process: solid fats can trap bubbles in the batter which is needed for leavening. On top of that a solid butter will return to its solid state after being baked. Even a melted butter will eventually solidify again, while a liquid fat can't provide the same strength and texture after baking. Even when these two components don't play a role, the results will be different. For instance, olive oil is better at coating the flour to prevent gluten formation and will thus give a moister result than butter does. At the same time olive oil as a glaze does not soften the crust, but gives more colour instead. Lastly, and perhaps most obviously, an olive oil or sunflower oil has a completely different taste than butter.

Butter, shortening and margarine (and a pack of frying-fat)
Salted or Unsalted?
Sometimes I feel like there's a debate going on about which butter is best. The salted butter-users vs. the unsalted butter-users. There is however no answer to the question which is better, so let me explain the difference to you instead. One of the most obvious differences between the two butters is the taste. Unsalted butter tends to have a sweeter and creamier taste than does salted butter. However, salted butter has double the shelf life of unsalted butter (5 months). Salted butter is less likely to pick up odors from other nearby products and the salt can mask any off-smells. On the other hand, salted butter burns more easily than unsalted butter. Salted butter often contains more water. Which of the two to use depends on personal preference and experience, just do not forget the importance of salt and add or omit salt accordingly!

You know, it's really hard to try and fit everything you want to say into a short article. There are so many things I've missed now! Yet I still think I've written so much already. Are you even still with me at this point? If you're not, don't worry! I'll summon it all up for you:
So basically butter has an effect on taste (you knew this right?), texture and colour. It tenderizes and moisturizes and aids in the leavening process of our baked goodies. It gives a nice golden colour while at the same time preventing burning!
Next, there are different kinds of fats, divided into solid fats and liquid fats. Solid fats can be used interchangeably, but substituting with a liquid fat will be harder. Obviously, every single fat product will have different effects on taste, texture and colour. Salted and unsalted butter can also be substituted for one another, just remember to adjust the salt content accordingly!

My References:
Bread by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter 
Bakken met plezier by H. Halverhout
Culinate - Kitchen Chemistry
Grondstof Belicht - Slagroom
Joy of Baking - Butter
baking911 - Fats

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wentelteefjes (French toast)

I don't know what to do! I have whole lists of recipes I'd love to share, but just yesterday I realized there's seven weeks left till Christmas. SEVEN?! Which means I can only share seven recipes and there is no way that I can travel the whole world full of traditional Christmas recipes in just a few weeks. My big plan suddenly seems doomed to fail.. But most importantly, I don't feel Christmas yet. I'm caught up in my research, school projects and classes. We still need to celebrate Saint Nicolas (5 December) first before we can start thinking about Christmas!

So while I'm debating and stressing and wondering what to do with this horrible life-threatening problem, I still figured a recipe to share. In Holland it's a traditional way to use up old bread. But many more countries have their (also traditional) own version of this way too easy recipe!


When I think of recipes as traditional, I always have to do a bit of background on how traditional exactly the recipe is. And how much more traditional I can make it. You won't notice by my post, but sometimes theres hours of working trying to find the right ingredients or the little bit of history I wanted to know. For this recipe the exact history seems to be unknown. The idea was to use up old bread in a creative way and this idea has spread throughout the whole world (at least the parts that eat bread). The interesting part is the names people have thought up for it. The dutch word wentelteefje supposedly translates to 'turning it quickly'. Another few creative names: from Belgium the verloren of gewonnen brood (the lost or found bread) or the French pain perdu (lost bread). Or even more brilliant: the German Arme Ritter (poor knight). Or the less creative ones: the American French toast or the Spanish torrija (toast), the Greek γαλλικό τοστ (French toast). And then theres a whole lot of funny pronounciations for the same 'french toast'.

French toast (Wentelteefjes)
makes 10-20 slices- inspired by Grootmoeders Grote Keukenboek

3 eggs
30 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100 ml milk 
Butter
10 slices of (old) bread

1. Lightly whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the cinnamon and the milk and whisk until you have an even mixture.
2. Melt a bit of butter in a pan. Dip one of the slices of bread into the egg-mixture and into the pan. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown (or starting to burn) on both sides. Serve immediately!

Because it's so simple to make, this recipe just begs for creativity. Think of adding fruits, a bit of cream and cutting them into triangles for a fancy brunch. Or how about turning them savory with a bit of cheese on top and bit of pepper and leek through the egg? Or think of a Christmas dessert: serve with whipped cream and warm cherries. How about a simple breakfast: adding some nutella/chocolate chips and banana? Really the possibilities for varying shapes, taste and accompaniments is endless!

Lastly, I'm really curious about what you think: should I start posting Christmas recipes? Or stick to other things until December? And more importantly: what Christmas traditions do you want to see? Any countries that spring to mind?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Barmbrack Cake

It's almost Halloween! So before you start dressing up and stocking candy I want to share one more recipe. It's another traditional Halloween recipe, but this time all the way from Ireland. And it's a fruitcake!! Can you resist fruitcakes? Because if you can: congratulations to you! But I seriously eat half this cake in one day. What am I saying? A few hours!


Now I went ahead and said this was a traditional Halloween recipe, but if we really wanted to be traditional than this would be a bread. Also, we'd have to stuff the cake or bread full with little trinkets. Like a ring, a coin, a pea, a stick and a piece of cloth. There are different explanations for those, but the first two seem to consistently represent wealth, luck and marriage. So stick to a ring and a coin just to be sure whoever gets something will at least be lucky! Then again, anyone eating a whiskey fruitcake should be considered lucky.

Barmbrack Cake
a 22cm/8-9inch loaf - adapted from DonalSkehan and EatsAmazing

200 ml strong (Earl Grey) tea
50 ml whiskey
250 grams dried fruits * 
225 grams flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 
100 grams sugar
1 teaspoon spices
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons milk

1. Leave the tea to cool down to room temperature. Add the whiskey and dried fruits, together with the tea, into a bowl. Cover and leave to soak. (Ideally this'd be overnight: it really makes a difference! If you're in a hurry soaking while you prepare the other ingredients works as well.)
2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices together.
3. Add all the other (wet) ingredients into the bowl. Stir until you have an even, slightly liquid, consistency. The batter should drop off the spoon easily, but not instantly. Depending on how long you leave the fruits to soak you may need more or less tea at this point.
4. Pour the batter into a greased or lined tin and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes on 175 degrees Celsius or 345 degrees Fahrenheit. The cake is done once the top is browned and dry and a skewer comes out clean.

* think currants, sultanas, (glacé) cherries and cranberries, but anything will do.

Soaking the dried fruits in the tea and whiskey really makes a difference. I know I said that in the recipe, but I'm saying it again. The taste of the tea and whiskey will be much more prominent in the barmbrack as they won't get lost in the mixture of ingredients, but instead are captured inside the fruits. For this method you might need a bit more tea (or just water to add - up to 50ml).


I never actually soaked fruits for a fruitcake overnight before, but this time I started preparing the cake and then realized I didn't have time to make it after all. So they sat on my counter top overnight anyway. The next day, after the cake was baked and cooled, I was amazed by the difference. As soon as I took a bite of one of the fruits I could almost literally taste the tea and whiskey. I'm really glad I learned this by accident because I never want to do it differently again!

Also I'm quite happy that a cake made with tea turned out fine. I've tried making an Early Grey Poundcake before and it was horrible. Have you guys tried making a tea-cake before?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Toffee Sauce & Caramel Spread

It's nearly and almost Halloween! Which means there'll be caramel apples all over the place and I need to try caramel apples myself. But dipping a WHOLE apple into caramel seems like a whole lot of apple and not a lot of caramel, so I decided on apple chunks in caramel dipped into some topping.


It took me 2 weeks and several experiments to realize my idea does NOT work. It's nice, but the moisture of the apple doesn't work with the caramel. On the first try the caramel instantly hardened as soon as it touched my colder apple chunks. The second time the caramel never hardened and sort of melted and dripped off my apple. And, hell I don't even remember the 3rd, 4th and 5th all the way up to what? 7 times? So in the end I came up with this: a lovely toffee-caramel sauce I've known for a while, a chocolate sauce and apple chunks to go with it. Tadaa~ a Caramel, Chocolate & Apple fondue! I thought it was brilliant.

Caramel Sauce & Spread
1 small jar - inspired by SimplyRecipes among (lots of) others

1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
1/2 cup butter *
1/2 cup cream *
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Put the sugar with the water in a non-stick pan and turn the heat on medium to high. Occasionally stir until the sugar has completely 'melted' and turned into the perfect caramel colour. A very light colour will give a sweet sugary taste and a dark colour will turn bitter or burnt. So keep an eye on your sugar!
2. Melt the butter into the cream and pour the liquid into the pan with caramel. Stir vigorously until it all comes together. Add the vanilla essence, stir again, and leave to cool depending on what you feel like.
3. Toffee Sauce: serve immediately!
4. Caramel Spread: leave to cool in the fridge for an hour or two.

 * Variate the amount of cream and butter depending on whether you want the caramel to become rockhard (omit altogether), knead- or spreadable (use more butter), or a sauce (only cream). The temperature you serve it at also makes a big difference!

I add the water at the start just so the sugar doesn't burn immediately. I've tried the 'dry' method before but it just doesn't work for me. If you're comfortable with it feel free to leave the water out! Another note: the caramel can be kept fine in the fridge for several weeks.


Yup, that was brilliant. I ate it all myself. Not that I had much of a choice though: everyone's gone off to Barcelona without me. (*gasp* how dare they?) I hope they remember to bring me some food..

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wauw! Its a New Banner!

If you've been here before you'll notice I completely changed my banner. I wanted to go for something a lot simpler and sophisticated.

In the new banner I added some more swirls. Because I LOVE those pretty swirls! Also you'll see a compass, which symbolizes the journey we're taking through the world of food. Because as long as I keep exploring the world of food, I will learn more and see more and get to taste so much more! Just thinking about it makes me so excited! There's sooo much food I still need to try from sooo many different countries, I'll be surprised if I ever get to learn half of it. But even learning a quarter of it would mean the world to me!

So here's that new banner: (if you haven't noticed it above)


Mind you, it's actually still a work in progress. I won't stop until I'm satisfied! (which can take a while, as I don't actually have all the time in the world to wonder about whether I'm satisfied or not.)

And here's the old banner:


It's so different! I'm still really proud of this banner. It took me loads of work to get it perfectly right, but in the end I didn't feel it reflected my blog the way I wanted.

What do you guys think? Please leave a comment with more inspiration for my banner or tell me which banner you like better!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Short notice - post delayed

There's a post! Finally! It's going to be a bit different because all the recipes I had in mind failed. Also, we had a lot of cakes leftover from the weekend, so I wasn't really allowed to bake much. (aww...)


Anyway, it was my sisters 18th birthday! (Happy Birthday!!) And even though I had an exam and I was studying myself to death.. I still managed to help her make a cake, destroy it, redo it and eventually save it. This took 5 times the amount of time I scheduled for it. (But I think I still managed to pass that test)

Here, the only picture that looked half decent of the cake that completely and utterly failed:


It was supposed to be a white cake with decorations on it. But the white chocolate icing didn't really want to look nice. At all. It fell off the cake, refused to harden and was separating from the cream it was beat into. After messing with it for an hour or so, I decided to do something completely different: I sprayed the whole thing grass-green and turned the pink and purple decorations into flowers. I pasted some Lego ponies on the sides of the cake and put a massive glittery plastic tower on top. My mom and I agreed it was perfect for a 5-year-olds birthday.

Unfortunately, my sister was turning 18. Yes. Not entirely what we expected. You'll understand then, why I was completely surprised when my sister said: "Oh, that looks quite nice". I'm sorry? Where did we go right?! (On a side-note: all her guests loved the cake as well and thought it was delicious. Perhaps I'm just a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to baking?)

So just to make it up to her I made a second cake after my exams:


That looks a lot better doesn't it? Of course I wanted to make an apple crumble cake and decided to put fondant over that. Have you ever tried putting fondant over an apple crumble cake? I mean, who does that?

Please look forward to another recipe next Monday! We'll be going back to the Halloween Spirit. And: I'll be updating my website-banner soon! I'm all excited about it and I really hope you'll like it too!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sweet Spice Mix (Mixed Spice/Pumpkin Pie Spice)

BEST SPICE MIX EVER - Mixed Spice, the way grandma used it - Only pumpkin pie spice you'll ever need -  Heavenly, orgasmic mixed spices - Not your average pie spice!

Just to name a few titles I could've given this recipe. Any references to existing online recipes are completely coincidental. But in stead my recipe will go down in history as: *drums*

Spice Mix

It's good huh? Cuz it's a lot of spices, and we mixed them. So I thought it would work.
(Okay I added sweet because cinnamon calls for sugar. And because we use it mostly in sweet baked goods. Also because Spice Mix is so short, it could be anything. You know, not that sweet spice mix doesn't leave anything to the imagination, but.. oh stop it!)


Last week I shared a recipe on pumpkin pie.. and I told you about some awesome spice-mix I made that I couldn't exactly explain to you in that one recipe. This time I will! Especially now the winter season is coming up, and the autumn season with all its apples and pumpkins asks for a lots of spices as well, this is something you can't miss in your cupboard!

Sweet Spice Mix
1 small spice-jar

2 tablespoons cinnamon
1-3 teaspoons orange rind (1/4-1/2 the peel) *
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1. Put all ingredients in a jar and shake it!

* You might want to dry the orange peel before chopping it to tiny bits and using it in the mix. Don't bother to much with how much you use. This is the only ingredient (apart from cinnamon) of which "more = better".
** You might want to experiment with the quantities, adding different spices (such as allspice) or omitting spices you dislike. Every country (and every brand within a country) has it's own recipe!

I came up with the recipe above by buying all the ingredients it said on a spice-mix jar I bought from the supermarket. I experimented with the taste and came up with something I liked and you should totally do the same! Just look up some recipes, or ingredients on jars and start mixing, add/substitute a few ingredients and come up with a recipe that is totally your own!!


Now that you've got your own spice-mix.. What do we use it for?

Hah! I could write whole essays on what to do with a -or any- cinnamon-spice mix. Think of apples or pumpkins. Think of cakes, muffins, breads, pies, cookies, candy, pancakes, bread pudding. I don't know..!! Is there anything you CAN'T use this in? Oh, maybe savory food. Because a cinnamon-spice mix calls for sugar. Lots of it.

I hope you guys enjoy the cinnamon season! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yeast - My new Pet Friend

Do you remember the post about rising agents? Here I continue the chat on yeast. It was the one thing I was interested in the most. Besides eggs that is, I really want to know what eggs do too! Yet again this is a completely different post than the previous ones. I really wanted to accentuate the way yeast works, but will try to answer some practical questions as well!


The way it works
"One day, in a bakery far away, there was a little Fungi named Saccharomyces Yeast. The bakers gave him lots of food and water, which Yeast would happily eat all day. He'd make loads of friends and loads of babies and he'd burp and fart all day. The warm baker's hands would make him jump of joy and eat some more until the heat oven the oven took it all away."
Yeast is a living organism, which requires sugar and moisture to activate (food and water). A warm temperature speeds up the rising process, which generally takes 1-2 hours, however a fridge will give the same results over more than double or triple the time. In this time the yeast will duplicate itself (making friends&babies) and convert sugars into gas (burping and farting), which create the leavening we need for the texture of our breads. These sugars can be naturally present in the flour or are added manually. More precisely yeast converts glucose into carbon dioxide, alcohol and other organic compounds. The carbon dioxide expands and creates air pockets within the dough. When the dough is baked the yeast dies and the process is set. The air becomes locked into the gluten resulting in the 'fluffy' texture of the bread. The alcohol and other organic compounds effect the flavour (and texture) of the dough. This results in a pronounced taste, which is why you will most often find yeast in savoury items.
Dough with fast-action dried yeast after it's first rise
Different sorts of yeasts
There are many many many many many different kinds of yeasts. For instance, you have a different kind of yeast for every wine or beer you can imagine (can you imagine?!). Every sort of yeast will have different properties (such as resistance to alcohol or heat) and each will call for a different method. In essence all yeasts work the same as they need feeding, heat and time to rise and they can -to an extent- be used interchangeably. In baking we have three main categories:
- Dried Yeasts
There are several types of yeast in this category: dried, fast-action dried and easy blend dried yeast. Most home bakers will use a fast-action dried yeast (also: rapid-rise or instant) as it is most commonly available in stores. As the name suggests this yeast will rise faster than fresh yeast. It is also more resistant to high temperatures and is easier to keep. This is also the only yeast that doesn't need to be activated in water first and can directly be added to the flour.
- Fresh Yeasts
These yeasts must be stored in the fridge and also come in different types. Most commonly you will find Compressed/Cake yeast. A fresh yeast is considered to be superior in flavour, but home bakers will most often turn to driest yeast for the aforementioned reasons.
- Natural yeasts
Yeast spores are all around us: they occur naturally in the air, on the ground, in our dairy products, plant matter, flour and even on our skin. Sourdoughs rely on these wild yeasts. With enough flour and water a batter will start to ferment spontaneously if it is given sugar or starch to feed it. There are many variations of sourdough, but all require a starter, time to ferment and the addition of water and flour to keep the yeasts active or to refresh the sourdough when part of it is used. Sourdoughs tend to become more flavourful given time. Note: Most sourdough startes now require the use of fresh or dried yeast to 'start' the process as waiting for natural yeast spores to activate can be time consuming and ineffective. Another Note: Even the wine industry sometimes makes use of 'starters', as just like bread, wine can be made with the wild yeasts naturally present in the air.

Different kinds of breads might call for different kinds of yeast
How do we use yeast? (Can we go wrong?)
- Temperature: These are so many different kinds of yeast that the perfect temperature for a yeast to grow or ferment is hard to find. Yeast will generally work at any temperature between -2°C and 45°C (28°F and 113°C). Beyond a point of 48°C-60°C (120-140°F) the yeast will definitely die. Ideally you will be using 'room temperature' which is around 21-25°C (70°F-77°F). At lower temperatures the yeast will become slow or even inactive.
- Changing the type: Dried and fresh yeasts can be used interchangeably, but will need to be converted. For example, you will need far less dried yeast than fresh yeast for a dough. Easiest is to look at the package and the amount of flour you're using and scale the yeast accordingly.
- Scaling:  The amount of yeast you need in a recipe, does not scale proportionally with the amount of flour you need. Meaning you will need more than half the yeast when you halve the amount of flour and less than double when you double the amount of flour.
- Using too much or too little yeast: When one uses too little yeast a dough needs a longer time to rise, but will most often barely rise at all. This will create a very dense, dry and tough bread and could very well resemble a brick. Too much yeast will result in a dough that is likely collapse. You might get a very crumbly or coarse texture, very large holes in the bread or a very dense and tough texture after it's collapsed. 
- Feeding it too much: Note that there is a limit to the amount of food a yeast can handle. Too much sugar or moisture will cause the yeast to die. This is one of the reasons you rarely find yeast in sweet goods.
- Feeding it too little: Unless you forget to add water, this is nearly impossible. Flour naturally contains sugars which the yeasts can convert. However, adding sugars (in the form of sugar, milk, fruits or other) will speed up the process as these sugars are more easily accessible to the yeast.


Just to summon it all up shortly: there are several types of yeast with different properties that require different methods. You'll find that bakers use either dried yeast, fresh yeast or natural yeasts. All these yeasts, in essence, work the same as they all feed on sugars and moisture, need a warm temperature and time to do their job properly and and exert gas (among other things). It's exactly this gas that causes the leavening in our breads. Thus yeast has an effect texture, but also on flavour (remember the other things). There are several points you can take into account when using yeast, such as the ideal temperature, the amount of yeast you need and how much you need to feed it.

Yes, I thought I'd stop here since it's starting to become a very long story again. If you want more information on yeast I'd invite you to read one of the following references. Some are very basic but some will give you even more useful (and technical) information on yeast I couldn't possibly all include into this one post.

My References:
Bread by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter - recommended
Zelf wijn maken by C.J.J. Berry
baking 911 - Yeast  - recommended
baking911 - Preferments
Culinate - Kitchen Chemistry
BBC GoodFood - Yeast
GermanFood - All About Yeast

* Please be critical towards the information you find on the internet. For instance, one of the authors in my references explained the process of yeast very well, but insists on using half of the yeast, as to minimize the amount of alcohol in her bread. I'm astonished she failed to understand that the yeast will duplicate when given time and that halving the amount of yeast will effect the taste and texture for the worse. (I could go on but my point is you really shouldn't worry about the >0,1% alcohol! Oh yes, and to read carefully: are you sure what I wrote is right?)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Probably Pumpkin Pie

It's officially autumn! You can tell by the mushrooms that are popping out of the ground, the leaves that are changing colours and the cold weather, but most importantly:  I feel like Halloween.

My sister's been looking up crazy ideas from pumpkin cake pops to burnt toast in the shape of a hand and spiderpies (for me to make of course). In the meanwhile I was looking up Halloween traditions such as pumpkin pie and caramel apples.


I chose to bake the one I'm absolutely fan of: pumpkin pie. No, I have to admit I never actually had pumpkin pie. But I really like the taste of pumpkin and I've been craving pumpkin pie every Halloween for years now, so I think I'm allowed to be a fan! And now, the time has finally come to get into my kitchen and create the Pumpkin Pie. (Well, its Probably Pumpkin Pie. I couldn't really know for sure, with never having tasted one before.)

Pumpkin Pie
1 large pie - inspired by Pastry Cook and JoyofBaking

Pastry crust:
200 grams flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
90 grams butter
1 egg yolk
1-3 tablespoons cold water

Pie filling:
450 grams pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons spices *
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pastry crust:
1. Sift the flour with the salt. 
2. Press the butter into the flour until you end up with 'crumbles'. I like to use a fork for this.
3. Add the yolk and the water and work the dough until it's consistency is firm and even. Try to minimize the kneading as heat will change the texture of the pastry.
4. Wrap in foil and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Filling:
5. Lightly beat the eggs. If you made pumpkin puree yourself you might need to sieve it to get rid of the juices and have a slightly thicker consistency.
6. Add all the other ingredients and stir until you have an even batter.

Assembly:
7. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
8.  Press the pastry dough into a tin. (Or two. Or many mini's.) Cover it with a baking sheet or aluminium foil and fill the inside (on top of the sheet or foil) with baking beans, dried beans or rice. (You can be creative with this, but it needs to be heavy enough to keep the sheet/foil -and with it the pastry- down and above all not burn in the oven.)
9. Put the tin into the oven for about 10 minutes until the sides start to colour.
10. Take the pastry crust out of the oven, fill with the pumpkin filling and pop in the oven again at 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes.
11. Leave to cool a bit and it's ready to serve. With maple syrup and cream please! 

* If you have special pumpkin pie spices in your storage: go for it! If you don't then think of using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and dried orange shreds. Use at least 1 of the 2 teaspoons for cinnamon. I made my own spice-mix and should be posting that soon!

If you have any pumpkin left: go and Google pumpkin recipes. No, I'm serious! You'll be Amazed and Inspired at what people came up with that includes pumpkin. But if you don't feel very creative and what you have left is less than a handful, then try this: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (adapted from a Love a fare). Put a handful pumpkin puree in a blender with 1 banana, 1 spoon maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon and enough milk to get the right consistency and blend until smooth(ie).


I have to ask because I'm soso very curious: What are your Halloween (food) traditions? When you google it all you can really find is pumpkin pie and caramel apples and some Irish Barmbrack (which to be honest looks very delicious). I remember celebrating Halloween back in Thailand, but all we really did there was trick-or-treat and I can't remember any caramel apples or pies. Back in Holland we have no Halloween celebrations at all. Well, I have some crazy friends who decide every year that it would be an Awesome Idea if we went and watched horror movies and walk through a dark forbidden forest at night. Is that what you're 'supposed' to do?

Kitty helps me with the maple whipped cream
Please let me know about all the things you do at Halloween and tell me everything about all your Halloweeny foods! Pleasepleaseplease pretty please with cherries on top?

And here's an update with a new recipe!

Pumpkin Pie with a bit of Bite
1 pie - inspired by Good Food and CrumblyandCrispy

1 Probably Pumpkin Pie recipe
1 apple
1 cup dates and mixed nuts
1 tablespoon Oats

1. Chop the apple into chunks and add the apple to the pumpkin filling (step 6).
2. Chop the dates and nuts more or less finely and add the oats. Evenly spread the mix on top of the baked pastry crust (step 10), before you top it with the pumpkin filling.

Picture with courtesy of my sister (Thank you!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake. I think it sounds so fancy! But what seemed to me as a lovely light, fluffy and very delicate cake turns out to be a pound cake. A POUND CAKE! Do you feel me? Queen Victoria ate pound cakes! I mean, the cake fit for a Queen was apparently the most basic of basic cakes that's been traditional throughout the whole of northern Europe for centuries? Well, fine.


So if you want to feel like Queen Victoria herself, bake a Pound Cake into a round tin. Cut the cake in half (per own insight), spread a thin layer of jam in between (the Queen liked raspberry) and top it with powdered sugar. Add a little bit of clotted cream to the side and voilà! Cake fit for a Queen.

For all those of you who want a light, fluffy and very delicate cake: I know just the thing! Which can of course still be sliced in half and filled with jam and cream and topped with sugar. And you can still feel like a Queen while eating this. I, for one, feel a lot Queenier with this cake!

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake
1 round cake (20cm/8inch) - from Cakes & Cake Decorating

4 large eggs
115 grams sugar
115 grams flour

1. In a heatproof bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until it's about to fluff.
2. Boil water in a large pan and then turn the heat to medium/low. Put the heatproof bowl over the pan and whisk until the eggs turn thick, pale and fluffy. This may take up to 10 minutes.
3. Take the bowl off the heat and continue to beat until the bowl has cooled down. If you can't hold your mixer this long, just leave it to cool while you come back to whisk for 10 seconds every 0,5-1 minute.
4. Sift the flour over the cooled egg batter and fold in gently.
5. Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes when making cupcakes or Swiss roll or 25-30 for a round cake.
6. For the Queen Experience: leave the cake to cool. Slice in half and spread a thin (thin is just relative really) layer of jam in between and top with (powdered) sugar.

*Cake should be consumed within 1-2 days as it will dry and stale quickly. 

Tadaa~ Now you've got two traditional English/Northern European cakes! Let's call them both British and serve at the fancy high tea party we suddenly feel like organizing. Will you invite me?


On a little side note: if I say light and fluffy I mean really light and fluffy ok? I mean in the sorts of: if you place a fork on it you'll have a perfect fork imprint on it. Or as in: if you put fondant over it it'll diminish to less than a quarter of the original size. But also: if you take one bite you'll find that suddenly the whole cake is gone! Ohoh, last one: it's kind of like coke! It's got more bubbles than actual food! Making it perfect for those people on a diet who refuse to actually go on a diet. (you'll have to omit the jam though. And the cream. The sugar too.)


But, remember: Never trust a skinny cook! So, we can afford to make two of these so we can try different jams. Or one with jam and one with nutella. And one with fresh fruits too. I suddenly feel very trustworthy!