Friday, May 31, 2013

FFwD: Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado

Today´s recipe for the French Friday with Dorie group is Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado.

As Dorie so aptly points out, this is not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients and therefore the end result depends entirely upon the quality of the very few ingredients used. All you will need to prepare this delicious appetizer are Hass avocados, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Fleur de sel and the best quality Pistachio Oil you can afford.

Avocados have green, buttery flesh and a large central stone. In most European countries, two main avocado varieties are available, namely Hass and Fuerte. These two varieties are easily distinguishable. The Hass variety (which I always use) has a knobbly purple-black exterior and a creamy-textured, richly flavored interior; the Fuerte variety has a smooth green skin. Avocados are very high in both protein and oil. When purchasing avocados, you should look for the ones that have unblemished skins with no soft spots, which suggest bruising. They are ready to eat when the flesh yields slightly when pressed with the thumb.

Pistachios are slim, oblong nuts, ranging from pale, creamy yellow to dark green. There are the kernels of small olive-like fruits. They grow in clusters, and are cultivated in the Middle East, some Mediterranean countries, and California. Unblemished, large, plump, dark-green nuts are the best quality. Buy them from a reliable shop with a high turnover to ensure that they are not rancid or artificially dyed.

Cold-pressed native Pistachio Oil, not pistachio flavored oil, is certainly a specialty oil. Pistachio Oil is a pressed oil, extracted from the fruit of the pistachio nut. Compared to other nut oils, pistachio oil has a particularly strong flavor, it tastes similar to the nut from which it is extracted and it is used as a table oil to add flavor to foods such as this wonderful Pistachio Avocado. The Pistachio Oil that Dorie uses in her recipe was manufactured by the well-known Huilerie J. Leblanc (hence the name of the recipe) but since we have the most fabulous local oil mill in Bonn, of course,  I bought my Pistachio Oil there…

… it has a wonderful brownish-dark green color and incredibly intensive flavor.

And since it  has such an extraordinary flavor, it was certainly worth the investment, we have already plans for a few other delicious appetizers that will showcase this very special oil.

But for today, I used it for Dorie Greenspan´s  Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado – I cut the ripe and unblemished avocado into thin slices, drizzled it first with a good and healthy squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discoloration, then some of the fabulous Pistachio Oil and finished it with a slight sprinkling of some delicate Fleur de sel. I also added some fresh, unsalted pistachio for flavor. To die for!

To accompany this elegant and exquisite appetizer, I decided to bake some equally elegant and simple Oat Cakes, using a recipe (sans the vanilla extract) that I found back in August of last year on Hester´s lovely blog Alchemy in the Kitchen – they were perfect with this appetizer, not too overpowering, not too salty and they perfectly cut through the richness of the oil as well as the avocado.

This was a very interesting and special recipe that only works with the best quality ingredients that you can find. And if you use wonderful, ripe Hass avocados, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Fleur de sel and a cold-pressed native Pistachio Oil, you will be delighted with this recipe. The Pistachio Oil should preferably be bought from a reliable source, or if you are as fortunate as we are and find a local Oil Mill (Bonner Oelmanufaktur), then, by all means, you should try to get the oil from there, it is worth the investment, no doubt whatsoever.

I am curious to see what other interesting ways the members of the French Fridays with Dorie group decided to present Anne Leblanc´s Pistachio Avocado in. Please click here for their own and personal interpretations.


Pistachio Oil from the “Bonner Oelmanufaktur” (

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anise Tea Cake and French Anise Candy (Anis de l`Abbaye de Flavigny)

A few day ago, a very good friend of mine and godmother to one of my children returned from a trip to Burgundy and brought me back three lovely oval tins filled with delicious pastilles from Flavigny, called Anis de l´Abbaye de Flavigny. The story of the Anis de Flavigny dates back to the rise of the pastilles in the mid 1500s in Europe as sugar became more readily available. The most basic definition of a pastille is “a kernel of something coated with sugar". It can be a natural almond, like Jordan Almonds, or an anise seed, like Anis de Flavigny.

The pastille was often the work of a pharmacist or herbalist, not a confectioner. They started with seeds or herbs that were prescribed for various medical reasons like fever, then coated them with sugar syrup, tossed them in a pan and repeated the process until layer upon layer was built up. The most talented pharmacists made beautiful pastilles that looked like shimmering opalescent spheres and were kept as if they were treasures as well, inside ornate boxes, often locked by the lady of the household.

Les Anis de Flavigny probably has one of the longest histories of a candy, as the Town of Flavigny may have been making these pastilles since Roman times. To this day, these pastilles are manufactured by confectioners in those largely unchanged traditions. Each pastille takes fifteen days to make. They still start with a single anis seed and then a sugar syrup is poured over it, tumbled until dry then repeated dozens of times. The first, Anis de Flavigny packages were long cardboard tubes. When Jean Troubat launched the sale of his Anis in vending machines in the 1950s, he needed a solid box that could fall from the machines. This is how the first metal tin, at first round, then oval, appeared. Today, you will also find these cute “tasting sachets” in cafés, hotels and restaurants.

Les Anis de Flavigny come in ten different natural flavors: anise, of course, but also blackcurrant, lemon, orange blossom, ginger, tangerine, mint, liquorice, rose and violet, all rather classic and with an charmingly old world.

Dedicated to its origins, Anis de Flavigny operates from a former Benedictine abbey in the beautiful French village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, Burgundy.

The gorgeous tins tell a little story as two lonesome young people pine in solitude, then meet, share their candies and their affection.

There are naturally flavored Mint Pastilles with a wonderful refreshing mint flavor that is not too strong but just right…

…and then there are the delicately flavored floral Violet Pastilles that are made according to a 9th century recipe…

…and then the very famous Anise Pastilles that are also one hundred percent naturally flavored.

Since we love the flavor of anise seeds, I let myself be inspired by these delicious anise candies and decided to bake two wonderful and easy Anise Tea Cakes. The cakes smelled absolutely wonderful while baking. They are flavored with anise seeds, are baked in  specialty baking pans and are what we call “dry cakes" that is, they are perfect for dipping in a cup of tea. And while the delicate flavor of the anise seeds permeates these cakes, it is by no means overpowering.

Please note that you can either serve the cake while still warm and fresh from the oven or you wait until it cools down, slice it and dry the slices at low temperature in the oven, much like biscotti or rusks. That way, they will keep for quite some time if stored in a dry place and make wonderful gifts for that person in your life that enjoys the delcate flavor of anise.

If you prefer another taste like vanilla, you can substitute the anise seeds with natural vanilla sugar instead.

Anise Tea Cakes
(Teekuchen mit Anis)

Ingredients for the Cakes
(this recipe will yield two cakes)
  • a bit of unsalted butter for greasing the two loaf pans
  • 5 eggs (L), free range or organic if possible
  • 250 grams (8.8 ounces/1.2 cups) superfine (caster) sugar
  • 250 grams (8.8 ounces/2 cups) AP (plain) flour, plus some extra for dusting the pan
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (organic if possible)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Equipment: needed
  • two 30. 5 cm (12 inch) so-called  half round loaf pans (Rehrücken Backform)*

Preparation of the Cakes
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Lightly butter and flour two loaf pans, shaking out the excess.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat together eggs and sugar at high speed until tripled in volume and thick enough to form a ribbon, 5 to 8  minutes.
  4. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and anise seeds.
  5. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in 3 batches, folding in each batch. 
  6. Gently stir in lemon zest and juice.
  7. Immediately pour the batter into the two loaf pans and smooth the tops.
  8. Bake until top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. 
  9. Cool loaves about 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks and cool for about 30 minutes more.
  10. If you prefer to “double-bake” your cake slices, you can do so by drying them in the oven at low temperature until they reach the crispness that you like – a bit like Biscotti.
  11. Decrease oven temperature to 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit).
  12. Trim the ends of the loaves and cut loaf crosswise into 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) thick slices. 
  13. Bake on a baking sheet until undersides are golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Turn over and bake until undersides are golden brown, about another 20 to 30 minutes more
  14. NOTE: loaves can be baked (but not sliced) 2 days ahead and kept, wrapped in foil, at room temperature or frozen 1 month.

These are cakes that I baked in two of my a special baking pans that look like long loaf pans curved in a half-moon shape with evenly spaced grooves across the width, and a flat section down the center, known as a “Half Round Loaf Pan” (Rehrücken Backform)*. But these cakes can easily be made in  regular loaf pans as well or you could try to find these baking pan in German or Austrian specialty stores or online. The baking pans are made from different materials such as stoneware, aluminium or non-stick.

Many thanks to my lovely and dear friend who thought about me while vacationing in wonderful Burgundy, France and brought me back these wonderful Anise, Violet and Mint Pastilles and inspired some nice Wednesday afternoon baking followed by a wonderful Afternoon Tea!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Colorful Funfetti Bundts

In the month of May, there were lots of birthday parties, celebrations, bake sales, Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution Day, days off school and work and there were so many cupcakes, muffins, cakes and cookies to be baked that I was quite pleased to find a fun recipe (and a new one for me) on Laura´s lovely blog Baking in Pyjamas called Funfetti Cake. Laura is based in England and an avid and wonderful baker. With another three cakes to be baked for a bake sale at the primary (elementary) school sports event on Saturday, I did not hesitate too long before I decided to give Laura´s recipe for this colorful cake a try. I called the cakes Colorful Funfetti Bundts. The recipe calls for self-raising flour and luckily I had just replenished my stocks when visiting the Netherlands last week.

Funfetti cakes and cookies are not really known around here and I must say I never baked one before either. Of course, sprinkles on a cake are wonderful, but sprinkles baked inside was not something I had really considered before. This cake is a colorful confection that is easy to bake and it seems perfect for any celebration that involves at least a few little people.

I used round “Konfetti Sprinkles” from a well-known German manufacturer * that are available in many countries and they seemed to be the right kind of sprinkles for this cake. Nice, not too sweet and very colorful. Ususally, I am not the one to add food coloring to my baked goods but this cake looked so pretty and I knew that it would be a hit at the bake sale.

I decided to skip the seven minute frosting and bake two small Bundt cakes (6 cup capacity) instead of making a layered cake like Laura did. It seemed to me that Bundts are easier to slice at a bake sale and the weather was just so warm that I was afraid the cake would not to hold up for a few hours with a soft frosting (although the recipe for the frosting sounds delicious). I also decreased the amount of sprinkles to 100 grams and added a pinch of sea salt to the egg whites but other than that, I made no changes to Laura´s recipe.

My kids were delighted with the way the Colorful Funfetti Bundts looked like and were quite happy to take them to their bake sale on Saturday. This cake will certainly make a few repeat performances at our house, I am sure.

Colorful Funfetti Bundts
(Bunte Konfetti Gugelhupfe)

Ingredients for the Bundts
  • 110 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus some more for greasing the pans
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) superfine (caster) sugar
  • 300 grams (2 cups) self-raising flour, plus some more for flouring the pans**
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk, room temperature (I used 3.5%)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 100 grams (1 cup) sprinkles (I used one whole box of “Dr. Oetker Dekor Konfetti”)*
  • 4 egg whites (L), free range or organic if possible (plus a few drops of lemon juice for the bowl - optional see NOTE in the recipe)
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • some powdered sugar (optional)

** Self-raising flour is widely available in Dutch and UK supermarkets. Outside these countries and the US, it is not commonly used. Self-raising flour will not keep for very long. The baking powder absorbs moisture from the air, which reacts with other ingredients in the flour, affecting its ability to rise.If you do not have self-raising flour, combine plain flour with baking powder and salt, or add raising agents (such baking powder or use bicarbonate of soda) separately in your recipe.

Equipment needed

two small Bundt pans (6 cup-capacity)

Preparation of the Bundt Cakes
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Butter and flour two small Bundt pans, shake out the excess flour and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment set to high speed, cream together the butter and the sugar until the butter mixture turns light and creamy. This will take between 5 to 8 minutes. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula as needed.
  4. Using the medium speed of your mixer, starting and ending with the flour, add 1/3 of the flour, mixing until the flour just starts to disappear then add 1/2 the milk and vanilla and keep doing the same until everything has been added, taking care not to over mix the batter. 
  5. Gently add the sprinkles and mix just until the sprinkles are incorporated into the batter.
  6. Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. NOTE: to make sure that the egg whites whip up properly, use a very clean bowl. Following the advice of a much admired cook and baker, I always wipe out my bowl with a few drops of fresh lemon juice on a clean cloth before I start beating my egg whites.
  7. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter until no traces of the white can be seen. 
  8. Divide the batter equally between the two Bundt pans and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Transfer the two Bundt pans to cooling racks and leave the cakes to cool for about 15 minutes before turning them out of their pans and transferring them to cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar (optional).

To round out the very colorful theme of these cakes, it is nice to decorate the table with colorful plates and forks and to showcase some even more colorful glass cake stands and deck the Bundts with some colorful paper flags.

The kids told me that the Colorful Funfetti Bundts were very well received at their bake sale in school and I was very happy that this recipe worked out so well.

Many thanks to Laura for posting this fun recipe and another big fat thanks for writing such a wonderful and kind résumé about my blog as part of your blog post about my Rhubarb and Almond Bundt Cake!

Friday, May 24, 2013

FFwD: White Asparagus Soup - Crème d´asperges blanches

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Asparagus Soup or Crème d´asperges.

Asparagus season (Spargelzeit) is very short and German white asparagus (Spargel) is well worth the wait for its unbeatable flavor and freshness.

Asparagus is best when grown and picked fresh. Regardless of whether you are buying thin asparagus or big jumbo spears, you should always choose stems that are firm and lush, rather than dry and wrinkly. Avoid any stems that are discolored, scarred or turning slimy at the tips. If you are using whole spears, then make sure the buds are tight and firm. If you are making soup like Dorie Greenspan´s Asparagus Soup, though, you could also use the somewhat more affordable spears called “soup asparagus” that you will sometimes find on market stalls.

The less time it takes to get asparagus from the field to the plate, the better it will taste because the sugars in the plant start to turn to starch once it is picked. Trim the stalks and, if the lower part of the stem seems tough, break off the bottom third of the stem. White asparagus always has to be peeled completely. The cooking time varies according to the thickness of the stems, but usually ranges between 8 to 12 minutes.

For today´s recipe I choose to use white asparagus, the season will last only another three weeks or so and green asparagus is hard to find locally – we only get white asparagus in the month of May until mid-June and we use it in as many dishes as possible while it is still available. So if you find white asparagus, grab some of this elegant vegetable while you can. As already mentioned,  the fresher it is, the better, of course, which is why farm shops and roadside stalls are generally the best source.

Dorie´s recipe is easy and, apart from fresh asparagus, the ingredients required for this soup are staple items in our house. You will need two leeks, an onion, a shallot, a garlic clove, some pepper (I used delicious freshly ground "white kampot pepper" from Hennes Finest based in my hometown, beautiful Cologne * ) and some French sea salt. The asparagus trimmings simmered in your hot stock really add to the intense, yet delicate flavor of this sophisticated soup. When the soup is fully cooked, it is whizzed up in the blender. I did not strain the soup, so it had plenty of texture from the asparagus, leeks and onions.

As one very talented and much admired chef once said: “Forget the traditional three-course meal. Eating in, or out, these days is all about small plates” – and I would add “small glasses” - so I chose to serve the asparagus soup in various espresso glasses from my collections and instead of adding crème fraîche, I decided to top the mini soups with some creamy milk foam topping, fresh dill and shrimps for color and for taste.

This is a delightful White Asparagus Soup, elegant, seasonal, tasty and pretty  - what more could one want from a late spring recipe.

To see how the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group prepared this vegetable soup, please do click here.


White Kampot Pepper from "Hennes Finest" available at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Almond, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Yesterday was a public holiday around here with schools and stores closed and a day off work, so we decided to visit the breathtakingly beautiful City of Maastricht in the Netherlands. We have paid many visits to this City and I do not think that we will ever tire of spending time there.

The day before we left, I decided to bake two kinds of Biscotti and today, I am posting the recipe for one of them, our new favorite, namely Almond, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti. Last time we were in the Netherlands, I caught a glance at a very similar recipe which we tremendously enjoyed and I decided to re-create it. In our house, these Biscotti that are studded with two kinds of nuts and dark chocolate, now go by the name of the “Dutch Biscotti".  Therefore, it seemed fitting to take them along for a quick photo session along the Mass river. The Maas is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. It has a total length of 925 km (575 mi). One of the many cities that borders the Maas is Maastricht.

These crunchy Italian biscuits or cookies were traditionally made with hazelnut and aniseed. But nowadays they are often flavored with a wide variety of nuts and lemon or orange rind or different kinds of chocolate and all sorts of dried fruits. They are hard and crunchy because they are twice-cooked ("bis" is the Italian word for "twice" and "cotti" for "cooked"). This makes them ideal for dipping into dessert wine or coffee, as a delectable after dinner treat. But they are equally good with some tea or just on their own. Recipes for Biscotti date back as far as the 13th century in Italy.

Almond, Hazelnut and Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients for the Biscotti
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) whole almonds 
  • 50 grams (1.7 ounces) whole hazelnuts
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate of your choice (I use Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa solids)
  • 125 grams ( 4.4 ounces) AP (plain) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla sugar 
  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 25 grams (0.8 ounce/2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg (L), free range or organic if possible

Preparation of the Hazelnuts and Almonds
(you can skip these steps if you have almonds and hazelnuts that are already blanched)
  1. Place the almonds in a pot of boiling water, boil for about one minute, carefully pour them through a sieve, place them on a kitchen towel and squeeze the almonds out of their skins. 
  2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered. Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins (don't worry about skins that don't come off) and cool completely.

Preparation of the Cookies
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (unbleached if possible or use Silpat baking mats).
  2. Chop the chocolate into chunks (this is best done using a serrated knife).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla sugar until well combined.
  4. Add the butter and egg and stir all the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined and begins to comes together as a dough.
  5. Add the whole almonds, hazelnuts and chocolate chunks and using your hands knead the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
  7. Wrap each dough piece in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for abut thirty minutes and up to a day.
  8. When you are ready to bake the Biscotti, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit), take the dough pieces out of the fridge and dust your work surface with some more flour. Then shape the dough into two fat logs.
  9. Transfer the two logs of the dough to your prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the logs have doubled in size. 
  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
  11. Reduce your oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit).
  12. When the logs have cooled but are still warm, carefully transfer them to a cutting board and slice each about 1 cm (½ inches) thick, you should cut on the diagonal, using a very sharp knife.
  13. Place each Biscotti slice onto a baking sheet or onto cooling racks that you place onto the baking sheets thereby allowing for the hot air to circulate around each Biscotti cookie slice and return the baking sheet to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp, golden-brown and cooked through. 
  14. Transfer to cooling racks and cool completely.
  15. Place them in cookie tins, they keep well for up to one month.

Twice-baked, these sophisticated Italian-style crunchy Almond, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Biscotti are not only a perfect foodie gift, but are just the thing to accompany a silky dessert or a strong espresso.

Buon Appetito! - Eet smakelijk!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Hazelnut Cream - Schokoladenbisquit-Kuchen mit Haselnusscreme

Today´s cake is a delightful little Chocolate Sponge Cake with Hazelnut Cream (Schokoladenbisquit-Kuchen mit Haselnusscreme). Sandwiched between two layers of a light chocolate sponge cake is a delicious hazelnut cream. The cake is baked in two small cake pans and is just the right cake to serve to your guests in the afternoon on a lovely day in May while sitting in the garden.

Whether chocolate, lemon or vanilla, sponge cakes can be made using either the creaming method (such as with this cake), the whisking method or by adding the cake ingredients to the batter in stages. For sponge cakes such as this one, flour, eggs, fat and sugar are combined and baked to form a light, porous cake, often with two layers separated by a sweet filling. The light chocolate cake layers of my cake pair perfectly with the creamy hazelnut filling and there is some added crunch from the coarsely chopped hazelnuts.

For the classic creaming method that I used here, butter and sugar are beaten together until pale, light and fluffy and then you gradually introduce the eggs, and finally carefully fold in the flour. This method is often used to make classic sponge cakes and fruit cakes.

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Hazelnut Cream
(Schokoladen-Bisquitkuchen mit Haselnusscreme)

Ingredients for the Cake

185 grams (6½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
185 grams (6½ oz) superfine (caster) sugar
4 eggs (M), organic or free range if possible
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150 grams (5 oz) self-raising flour *
25 grams (1 oz) cocoa powder (I use Dutch process)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk (room temperature)

* Self-raising flour is widely available in Dutch and UK supermarkets. Outside these countries and the US, it is not commonly used. Self-raising flour will not keep for very long. The baking powder absorbs moisture from the air, which reacts with other ingredients in the flour, affecting its ability to rise.If you do not have self-raising flour, combine plain flour with baking powder and salt, or add raising agents (such baking powder or use bicarbonate of soda) separately in your recipe.

Ingredients for the Hazelnut Cream

100 grams (4 oz) cream cheese
25 grams (1 oz) unsalted butter, softened
50 grams (2 oz) hazelnut spread
100 grams (4 oz) powdered sugar, sifted
40 grams (1½ oz) hazelnuts, coarsley chopped
1 tbsp cocoa powder (I use Dutch process)

Equipment needed

two 18 cm (7 inch) round cake pans, lined with unbleached parchment paper (I use springform pans but you can also use baking pans without a removeable bottom)

Preparation of the Sponge Cake
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Using an electric hand mixer or your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla a little at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. 
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and fold gently into the butter mixture.
  5. Add the milk to bring the batter to a soft consistency. NOTE: the batter should not be too thick or it will be too difficult to spread evenly in the baking pans.
  6. Divide the chocolate batter evenly between the two baking pans and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. 
  7. Leave the cakes to cool in their pans on cooling racks for 5 minutes then turn them out onto two wire racks to cool completely.

Preparation of the Hazelnut Cream
  1. Using an electric hand mixer or your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter and hazelnut spread. 
  2. Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. 
  3. Fold in the coarsely chopped hazelnuts.
Assembly of the Cake
  1. To assemble the cake, put the least favored cake, whichever it is, on to a plate or stand, and spread generously with the hazelnut cream, then add the second cake, flat-side down. NOTE: using a serrated knife, you could also cut off the top of one of the cakes to make it more flat (this will become the "bottom layer" of your cake).
  2. Top with the other cake layer and dust the cake with cocoa powder before serving.
  3. Devour.

This is a delightful light chocolate cake with a nice hazelnut chocolate filling that is not too sweet - just perfect to accompany that afternoon cup of tea or coffee!

Who knows this rather old-fashioned cake might become the unsung hero of our teatime repertoire - so why not give this recipe a try!

Friday, May 17, 2013

FFwD: Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution Day 2013

Today is May 17th also known as Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution Day 2013 – which has been so aptly been described as “ a global day of action aimed to inspire people to get cooking (or baking) and champion better food skills for people of all ages”.

For the French Friday with Dorie group that means the assignment for today is a so-called "cook´s choice", meaning that the participants were free to choose one of the recipes from “Around my French Table” and, in line with this year’s theme for Food Revolution Day, to “Cook it. Share it. Live it".

It seems that last week was like a food revolution week – there were four birthday celebrations and so much food and cake to be a prepared, cooked and shared. Our oldest daughter did not even hesitate one moment when asked what she wanted to eat for her birthday, like a real Dorista child that she has become over the course of the last year and a half, she wanted Poulet diable from Around my French Table and for dessert it was Boca Negra from Baking with Julia.

But I also wanted to prepare something that would mirror my personal motto of  “Jamie meets Dorie” ….

….so I baked mini versions of Marie-Hélène´s Apple Cake form pages 432-33 from Around my French Table. This cake has become a staple at our house and I have baked it so many times that I know the (easy) recipe by heart - this moist and delicious apple cake reminds us of other European cakes that we all love so much and it seemed just so fitting to prepare it for Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution Day today.

Some of the mini apple cakes were enjoyed at home. Along with vanilla and chocolate muffins, some were donated to a bake sale for a very worthy cause at one of schools of my kids.

The idea behind Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution is wonderful, who would not agree that we should all be happy healthy eaters! And it was fun participating this year!

To see what marvelous celebrations my fellow Doristas prepared  for Jamie Oliver´s Food Revolution Day 2013, please do click here.

Cakes & Buns & All Things Fun!
(Jamie Oliver)


  • "Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals" by Jamie Oliver (available at
  • "Jamie at Home" by Jamie Oliver (available at
  • Cakestand by Jamie Oliver manufactured by Merison (available at
  • Breakfast board from the "Stay Calm and Carry On" series (available at