Happy New Year with a Marzipan Topped Light Fruit Cake

I hope everyone is having a wonderful time amongst family and friends for this Holiday Season. Tomorrow we welcome the year 2014, I wish you all health, love, a safe home, prosperity and everything else you could wish. Happy New Year 2014!

My calendar has certainly been busy with family gatherings and a little quick trip out of town to Ottawa. And I am very much looking forward to the 31st as I am hosting the party with my closest friends. It’s pot-luck and so far it sounds like we will be having a real feast and lots of fun beverages. If my crock pot recipe turns out well I’ll probably share it next week. But for today I wanted to show you the cake I made for December 24th which was spent at my parents. The Marzipan Topped Light Fruit Cake was a crowd pleaser!

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Puffy Raspberry Almond Clafoutis

I have found a new fantastic group to join which offers sweet delights for everyone. The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge is all about baking sweets. Every month we are given to required ingredients to work with. This month it is almond paste and pastry. What a yummy combo!

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Blueberry and Almond Streusel Cake

As I mentioned recently in my Brown Sugar Fudge post, some of my colleagues regularly bring to work treats to eat. My department has a dedicated table for shared treats, how bad is that? The best home baked contribution of late was a Blueberry and Almond Strudel Cake. This wonderful coffee cake by Mandoline can be found on a French recipe website but my colleague found it in one of the free daily papers handed out in the subway. I have translated the recipe below.

He cooked it in a glass square dish and it came out paler and more moist. I cooked it in a metal square pan and it was more golden and drier. Both were good but this just goes to show two cooks can have totally different results with a same recipe. I really recommend you try it, whatever pan you use. Divine!

Ξ Blueberry and Almond Strudel Cake Ξ

Ingredients:

Almond Strudel Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp white chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp soft butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Cake
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

Almond Strudel Topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Set aside.

Cake: Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and almond extract until mixture is creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to mixture, alternating with combined sour cream and milk. Roll the blueberries in a little flour (about 1 tbsp Table) to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the mold. Then gently fold in the mixture.
Pour cake mix into a greased and floured 9-inch spring form pan or square pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved topping and press lightly with your fingers to make it adhere to the mixture.

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on rack before removing from pan.

Baked Almond Feta

I came across this recipe quite some time ago and I made it shortly thereafter. Time flies, I am only writing about it now. What got my attention in the first place was the word “feta”, a cheese I really enjoy. Upon further reading I realized there was not a crumb of feta in sight. It is actually  a recipe for an almond paté which has the texture of feta a little bit. How cool is that? I had to try it.

I found this Baked Almond Feta  recipe on the vegan blog Maple Spice, a new find for me. This is a great addition to a vegan recipe roster. To me almonds excite my sweet taste buds since I mostly use almonds in desserts. But this a savory recipe, a nice change. Spread it on bread slices and if you like drizzle with a flavored oil. This baked almond feta makes for a lovely and different kind of  snack.

Ξ Baked Almond Feta Ξ

1 1/2 cup ground almonds (I used whole almonds and processed, it was a coarser texture )
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Place everything in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. It may take a few minutes.

Line a small bowl with 3 layers of cheesecloth and spoon the mixture into the cheesecloth. Bring all the sides of the cheesecloth together and tie into a ball with kitchen rope or a rubber band. Place the ball in a strainer over a bowl. Leave to drain in the fridge for about 12 hours. Discard liquid, I had very little.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a small baking dish. Unwrap the cheese from the cloth and transfer to the baking dish. You can free form it, I decided to pat mine down in the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes or until slightly golden and cracked on top and firm to the touch.

Chocolate Apple Pie with Nut Crust

Looking for a practically guilty free pie when the sweet tooth attacks? Well I have a recipe for you. This recipe was given to me by Stef. The crust of the pie is made of crushed nuts, and egg white and a bit of sugar. That is it. You could fill it any way you like but here is our somewhat low cal version. Note the ingredients are to make one pie, we just happen t make two when he showed me.

Chocolate Apple Pie with Nut Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice (we did 1/2 almonds and 1/2 hazelnut)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar is desired
  • you can add cinnamon, nutmeg or what you like for extra flavor
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 apples
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • cinnamon to taste
  • sliced almonds
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. Crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed.
  2. Mix nuts with egg and sugar plus spices is desired.
  3. Spread in a pie shell evenly and cook at 350F till the crust is golden.
  4. Melt chocolate and mix in cream until homogenized. Spread in the bottom of crust.
  5. Sprinkle a layer of sliced almonds.
  6. Peel and core apples and then cut in thin slices.
  7. In a pan melt the butter and add apples with sugar and cinnamon. Cook until just tender.
  8. Poor apples into the pie crust and spread evenly.
  9. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds again and swirl decoratively the remaining dark chocolate.
  10. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Daring Bakers: Sorry this recipe was not Stollen

A day late for the wishes, had technical difficulties connection wise at the parents.

Opps!

I read the tittle and looked at a picture of this month’s challenge. I assumed it was a holiday dessert. Turns out it was a sweet bread. I had planned on making it for Christmas Eve dinner. I read it a few days ago and realized this would not cut it for the dessert, at least not in my family. And considering I had 5 other recipes to do…well I did some quick research and came up with an alternative. I did not make the mandatory Christmas Stollen, I hope you and Penny will be forgiven.

I wanted to stay within the concept of the challenge so I did find a cake that uses yeast and it is also German. Not bad don’t you think? I settled on a Bienenstich Cake which actually translates into Bee Sting Cake. The cake itself is very bread-like and it is filled with a custard…I added dried fruits and nuts to the custard. The top of the cake consists of sliced almonds ‘glued on’ with honey. And this is where the Bee Sting name comes in: “the story goes that a baker made the cake with a honey topping that attracted a bee which stung the baker”.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. If you want to make a Stollen click here for the recipe.

But if you want to make a Bee Sting Cake than you have come to the right place 😀

Bienenstich Cake (Bee Sting Cake) adapted from Angie’s Recipes and Diana’s Desserts

360 g flour
7 g instant dry yeast
60 g sugar
100 g butter, melted
1 egg
160 ml milk, lukewarm
120 g sliced almonds
200 g honey
1 gelatin pack
3 tablespoons water
1 (3-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
½ nuts
½ candied fruits and/or raisins

Combine together flour, dry yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add in butter, egg and milk to form a dough. Knead the dough until soft and smooth. Put the dough in a lightly greased plastic bag. Tie the bag and let rise for about 1 hour until double in bulk at room temperature.

Remove the dough from the bag and roll out on a greased 26 or 28 cm springform pan. Cover and let rise one more time until the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Place the sliced almond evenly on the top of dough, then spread the honey over the almond. Bake or about 35 minutes. Remove the form and cool the baked dough on a wire rack.

Soften the gelatin in the water, then heat the mixture (in a microwave set on low, or over low heat in a saucepan) until the gelatin has melted and the mixture is clear. Let it cool slightly. Mix the instant pudding with the milk and stir for 2 minutes as the box directs. Add gelatine mix, fruits and nuts. Slice cake in two horizontally. Spread the cream filling over the bottom layer and top with the almond layer.


Final verdict? It is a stunning cake to present but taste wise I would not do it again. The cake itself is a little unusual as it really is between a bread and a cake and was quite heavy and a bit dry. The taste was just OK. The almond crust top though was a HI and that I would apply to other sweets. The filling was awesome too. I really did enjoy combining yeast for a cake though, that was a fun challenge.