Monday, February 25, 2013

Baking Cakes with Potatoes II - Potato Crumb Cake with Cherry Jam

The second cake that I am featuring in my series "Baking Cakes with Potatoes" is a so-called Potato Crumb Cake with Cherry Jam (Kartoffel-Krümel-Kuchen mit Kirschmarmelade). A delightful cake, perfect with that afternoon cup of tea or coffee. This simple cake certainly has that "old world charm" that I like so much in my baking.

Recipe for the Potato Crumb Cake with Cherry Jam
(Kartoffel-Krümel-Kuchen mit Kirschmarmelade)

Ingredients for the Crumb Cake
  • 300 grams (10.5 ounces) plain/AP flour
  • 2 ½ tsps baking powder
  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) waxy (russet) potatoes - cook the potatoes with the peel unsalted water, let them cool, then peel and grate them on the small grates of your box grater. Or peel the potatoes while they are stiill warm and push them through a potato ricer and then let them cool them completely.
  • 50 grams (1.7 ounces) old-fashioned oats 
  • 150 grams (5.2 ounces) superfine white sugar
  • 1 egg (L), preferably free range or organic, room temperature
  • 2 tsps of homemade vanilla sugar (you can also use 1 package pure vanilla sugar or 2 tsps pure vanilla extract instead)
  • one pinch fine salt (I used fine sea salt)
  • 75 grams (2.6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • a few tablespoons cherry jam or any other jam of your choosing (preferably homemade)
  • a bit of dark rum (optional)
  • a bit of powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  • one 26 or 28 centimeter (10- or 11- inch) round springform pan
  • unbleached parchment paper
  • pastry brush

Preparation of the Crumb Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Butter the springform pan, line with unbleached parchment paper, butter and flour parchment paper, knocking out any excess flour.
  3. In a large bowl, either using your hand mixer or a pastry cutter, mix together all of the ingredients just until they come together as a crumb mixture.
  4. Take half the crumb mixture and put it into the springform pan in an even layer a possible. Press lightly to even out the crumbs a bit.
  5. With an offset spatula spread the jam on the crumb mixture. NOTE: you can add a bit of dark rum to the jam and heat it slightly before you spread it on the crumb mixture.
  6. Cover the jam layer with the remaining crumb mixture.
  7. Bake for about forty minutes, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing. You can also dust  the baked cake with a bit of powdered sugar before serving. 

Serving some lightly whipped cream would be wonderful with this cake. As the Potato-Raisin Gugelhupf, this cake can be stored for a few days, just make sure to wrap it well.

  • Round springform pans from "Kaiser" (http://www.
  • Cake plate and dessert plates from "Bunzlau Pottery" (
  • Cake forks from "Butlers" (


Baking Cakes with Potatoes I - Potato-Raisin Gugelhupf

Today, I am posting a recipe to start off my new series, namely “Baking Cakes with Potatoes". The first recipe of this series is the Potato-Raisin Gugelhupf (Kartoffel-Rosinen Gugelhupf). It is a cake with a yeast based dough, with finely grated cooked potatoes to keep the cake extra moist for quite a few days. You can either dust the baked cake with some powdered sugar or even glaze it with unsweetened chocolate, either way, it is quite wonderful with a noticeable taste of vanilla and rum soaked raisins.

No matter whether you are planning to bake breads, rolls, or cakes with potatoes, they can be used in a whole variety of baked goods. In times of dire need caused in the past by many shortages including bad harvests, potatoes had to act as "stand-ins" for other food items that were not always readily available such as butter and flour or eggs. And a lot of people had potatoes in their gardens or could easily get some from a farmer in their neighbourhood. That was the time the creative ideas for some of  these "old-fashioned" recipes were born and I have always loved these kinds of simple yet delicious recipes.

The recipes in my series can be re-created very easily and especially if you are looking for cakes that are not overly sweet and have this "old world" kind of look, you might want to try your hand at one or the other recipe.

Recipe for the Potato-Raisin Gugelhupf

Ingredients for the Gugelhupf

  • 400 grams (14.10 ounces) waxy (russet) potatoes - cook the potatoes with the peel unsalted water, let them cool, then peel and grate them on the small grates of your box grater. Or peel the potatoes while they are stiill warm and push them through a potato ricer and then let them cool them completely. NOTE:  after you have peeled them, you will be left with about 300 grams/10.5 ounces of potatoes
  • 300 grams (10.5 ounces) plain/AP flour, plus some for the pan
  • 1 package instant yeast 
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) superfine white sugar
  • 2 tsps of homemade vanilla sugar (you can also use 1 package pure vanilla sugar  or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract instead)
  • one pinch fine salt (I used fine sea salt)
  • 3 eggs (M), preferably free range or organic, room temperature
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus some for the pan
  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) raisins soaked in warm rum or apple juice for about twenty minutes, drained
  • some powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Ingredients for the Butter Glaze
  • 50 grams (1.7 ounces)  unsalted butter, melted 

  • one 10 cup Gugelhupf or Bundt pan
  • pastry brushes

Preparation of the Gugelhupf
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Butter and flour the Gugelhupf pan, knocking out any excess flour.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, carefully whisk together the flour with the instant yeast.
  4. To the flour mixture add the sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), salt, eggs and butter and mix for about two minutes until the cake batter is smooth.
  5. Switch to a spatula and gently add the grated potatoes and raisins to the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter to the pan and with a small offset spatula, smooth the top of the batter.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, or with only a few crumbs attached.
  8. When the cake is done, transfer it to a wire rack to cool for about ten minutes.
  9. After ten minutes, turn out the cake, heat the remaining butter, just until melted and brush the warm butter over the warm cake. Cool the cake completely on the wire rack.

When looking at these recipes, you should remember that adding cooked, mashed or riced potatoes to your recipe makes the cake extra moist. The potatoes add texture and help to keep the cake from drying out without adding "potato flavor" to it.



Friday, February 22, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is a colorful Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup. You "cheat" on winter when preparing this soup because you use frozen, not fresh peas for this velvety, spring colored soup.

Frozen peas are available year round, fresh garden peas, however,  are in season only from early June until late July. “Petits pois” or “Small Garden Peas” are young garden peas that are picked and shelled when small, young and tender, and can be found in stores year round as frozen peas, therefore, I believe there are the best choice for this soup which calls for one pound of frozen peas in addition to an onion (I used spring onions), a few cups of stock (I used home made vegetable stock), and one medium head of romaine lettuce (I used a head of wonderfully tender butterhead lettuce instead).

This soup is prepared much the same way any cream of vegetable soup is prepared – all you are required to do is sauté the onion, add the broth, stir in the peas and lettuce leaves, simmer away, purée, garnish with some crème fraîche and serve. Voilà. It is that easy and delightful and delicious. The small peas are easy to purée and there was no need to push the soup through the strainer before serving.

In my never ending quest to find local manufacturers and producers, I finally found a regional artisan flour mill. So on my first visit there on Wednesday, I bought four different kinds of flour and could not wait to use some of the "extra strong bread flour"  and bake a bread to accompany this wonderful soup. If you serve warm bread with this Pea Soup, you will have a nice winter lunch or dinner. In summer, you could also serve this Pea Soup cold, with or without a side salad.

Recipe for Cheese Bread with Garlic and Thyme

Ingredients for the Bread

  • 500 grams strong white bread flour (I used bread flour from a regional artisan flour mill)
  • 7 grams yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt (I used French sea salt)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (I used organic extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (I used Grade "A" maple syrup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed lightly with the flat of a knife and the heel of your hand
  • 25 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 grams Comté cheese, grated (you could also use a different cheese)
  • a few fresh thyme leaves

Preparation of the Bread

  1. Measure the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Mix 300 ml hand-hot water with the oil and maple syrup in a small bowl, then pour into the dry mix, stirring all the time to make a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead for a good five minutes until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour as you need it.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about an hour and thirty minutes).
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and fit it onto a baking sheet. Dimple the dough with your fingers.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the crushed garlic with the butter, then dot over the dough. Sprinkle over the cheese and snip over the thyme.
  7. Cover the bread with lightly oiled plastic wrap, then leave in a warm place to rise for about forty minutes.
  8. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  9. Remove the plastic warp, then bake the bread for about thirty minutes or until golden and risen.
  10. Leave to cool for ten minutes, then cut or tear into pieces and serve with the Pea Soup or any other soup or salad.

Overall, this is a lovely, simple soup, perfect for winter as well as summer. I love to use ingredients that I always have on hand and make something new and delicious with them, such as this Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup. If you would like to have an even silkier texture, than you should strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve. I can imagine that while frozen peas are wonderful in this recipe, using fresh peas in summer will be divine – but, of course, you would have to change the name of the soup to “Simply Divine Summer Fresh Pea Soup”.

To see how the other Doristas prepared this Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup, please click here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesdays with Dorie - Boca Negra

Today´s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group is Boca Negra or “black mouth” – which is what you will certainly have after taking a taste of this decadent chocolate cake. The incredible recipe for this chocolate cake was contributed by Lora Brody, cookbook author and “chocolate maven”.

The recipe for the Boca Negra requires but a few ingredients, namely, white sugar, bourbon, unsalted good-quality butter, farm fresh eggs, a little bit of white flour and a good amount of chocolate, 12 ounces (or 340 grams) to be precise. Therefore, to create a truly amazing chocolate experience, you really want to use a good quality chocolate. A huge range of eating and cooking chocolate is available in supermarkets and specialist shops, including chocolate made from organically grown ingredients and coming from Fairtrade sources. Make sure to seek out quality chocolate and the results will shine through. High-quality chocolate will make a distinctive, crisp, snap when broken, shattering cleanly. It should also start to melt when you hold it in your hand for a few seconds - the quicker the better, as this indicates a high cocoa butter content. I chose a wonderful dark chocolate from a local chocolate manufacturer called Coppeneur. After much discussion with one of the clerks, I settled on "Cru de Cacao - Puristique" with  66 % cocoa solids. Perfect.

The Boca Negra gets baked in a water bath for a good thirty minutes – the middle of the cake will be slightly fudgy and molten – before carefully being turned out onto a cake platter.

The texture of this cake is perfect. I followed the recipe as it is in the book and I have to say that this recipe will definitely make many repeat performances at our house. The deep chocolate flavor is a taste treat and we loved the creamy texture.

I served the Boca Negra with some unsweetened crème fraîche. The tartness of this wonderful rich French cream was a wonderful contrast to the rich creaminess of the cake. And next time I serve it, I will not omit it, it all works so well together.

We tested the cake at varying intervals and liked it refrigerated best of all

To see the other Boco Negra´s as prepared by all the other enthusiastic members of the Tuesday with Dorie group, please do click here.

The recipe can be found at Cathy´s blog –A Frederick Food Garden - "Thank you for hosting today´s recipe, Cathy"!


Friday, February 15, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Coeur à la Crème

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Coeur à la Crème. Of course, "crème" means "cream" and "coeur"  means "heart" in French and as everyone knows, the French are a romantic people. So what better way to celebrate your loved ones then with a French sweet heart or "soft cheese heart". Even when it is not Valentines Day. And even when the heart is not a heart but a round shape.

This week’s recipe is for a very traditional French dessert of whipped cream and cream cheese (I used Quark), sweetened and flavored with vanilla (I used homemade vanilla sugar) and framboise, Kirsch or rum (or freshly squeezed lemon juice as in my case), and set to drain until thick, sweet, and creamy in a heart-shaped mold (I had to use a sieve).

The cheese mixture for this dessert gets spooned into the dampened cheesecloth or muslin-lined mold or basket, leaving plenty overlapping around the sides. The dessert is then refrigerated overnight, during which time the whey (liquid) drains out through the basket or perforated mold. To serve, the dessert is unmolded and garnished with a coulis, fresh berries and /or other fruit.

To serve,  I opted for fresh blueberries instead of the usual raspberry coulis and made a blueberry sauce by placing 150 grams of blueberries in a saucepan with a bit of powdered sugar, water, and grated organic lemon zest. I let the sugar dissolve over gentle heat and simmered the sauce for a few minutes, and then tossed in some remaining blueberries. I spooned the berries and blueberry sauce around and served straight away.

As an additional touch, I heated some local honey in a skillet and added sliced almonds to the pan - it made a nice addition to the dessert and it looked pretty.

Despite my efforts, I could not find a proper heart-shaped mold or molds, so I had to use a sieve, much the same way I use it when I make ricotta or yoghurt cheese. While it might not look as nice, the taste certainly did not suffer and next  time, we are going on a trip to France, I will make sure to buy one or the other of these wonderful fun looking white porcelain molds.

This dessert leaves a lot of room for some interpretation. Originally, I was planning to prepare a rosy-hued rhubarb stew to serve with this dessert. Alas, no such luck getting the first fresh rhubarb of the season, too cold still. But blueberries worked fine and the almonds added a really nice crunch.

This is one the best no-bake desserts on the book. It is decadent and sweet, and fun. It is simply the perfect treat for a loved one or all your loved ones on any special occasion.

While I could not find the first rhubarb of the season yet, the first Grape Hyacinths or Muscari have started to bloom on my kitchen window sill. I am particularly fond ot these tender blue harbingers of spring.

To see how the other Doristas prepared this very traditional French dessert, please click here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Veilchendienstag - Violet Tuesday

Today is Veilchendienstag which literally means Violet Tuesday. It is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday and it is the day before Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch) and usually falls between February 3 and March 9. It has many names, including “Fat Tuesday”, “Mardi Gras”, the “Tuesday of Carnival”, “Pancake Day” or “Faschingsdienstag”.

The origins of this flowery name are not quite clear, historians assume that the expression evolved because the day  before “Violet Tuesday” is often referred to as “Rose Monday” (Rosenmontag) and it was natural to be looking for a similar name with a flower in its designation.

Whatever the historic origins of the name, Veilchendienstag (Violet Tuesday) is observed in many ways worldwide. No matter what its name is, the day before Ash Wednesday has long been a time for eating and merry making. The world's longest Carnival celebration is in Brazil but many regions have popular events on the day. The Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans is typical of the masquerades and dancing in the streets that take place in many countries on this day as people prepare for the long Lenten fast.

And what a better day than Veilchendienstag (Violet Tuesday) to be baking miniature Marzipan Gugelhupfs 

…with an light violet icing….

…and incredibly delicious candied violets as decoration.

And to be enjoying these tiny Gugelhupfs alongside a cup of tea called Earl Grey´s Lady Violet, a wonderfully fragrant black tea from Darjeeling, with cornflower blossoms and natural bergamot flavor...

... to which we like to add some pretty rock candy.

  • Earl Grey´s Lady Violet tea from Tee Gschwendner (
  • Miniature Gugelhupf baking pan called "Gugelhupf Konfekt" and violet liquid food color both from Staedter (
  • Candied violets called "kandierte Veilchen" from Karl Müller Gewürzmanufaktur (
  • Rock candy called "weißer Kandiszucker" from Pfeifer & Langen (
  • Vintage dishes with violet design from Bareuther Waldsassen (

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Carnival Celebrations Part III "Eiserkuchen" & "Quarbällchen" (Quark Doughnut Holes and Waffle Rolls)

For the third day of the Carnival Celebrations,  I chose to feature two different traditional Carnival pastries, the first are "Quarkbällchen". I will call them "Quark Doughnut Holes". "Quark", also called "farmers´cheese" or "fromage blanc" is a type of soft, white and unaged cheese that usually has a much lower fat content than cream cheese and has no salt added. It is commonly found throughout Europe.

Recipe for the "Quarkbällchen"
(Quark Doughnut Holes)

Ingredients for the Quark Doughnut Holes
  • 500 grams (17.6 ounces) AP (plain) flour
  • 130 grams (4.6 ounces) superfine (caster) sugar
  • 4 grams (0.14 ounces) fine sea salt
  • 25 grams (0.9 ounces) baking powder
  • 600 grams (21.2 ounces) quark
  • 25 grams (0.14 ounces) vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil
  • 5 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • some finely grated zest of an organic lemon
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla sugar

Ingredients for Frying

  • Vegetable Oil or fat with a high smoking point

Ingredients for the Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) sugar
  • some cinnamon to taste
  • one large paper bag

Preparation of the Quark Doughnut Holes

1. In the bowl of your mixer combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, quark, oil, eggs, egg yolks, butter, lemon zest and vanilla.
2. Beat the ingredients on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.
3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for about 45 minutes.
4. In a paper bag or a medium sized bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon.
5. In a deep-fryer, heat the oil or the fat until it reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius (degrees Fahrenheit).
6. With an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, proportion the dough, drop it into the heated oil.
7. Fry the doughnut holes until they have reached a golden color.
8. Using a large spoon with holes or a so-called "spider",  remove the doughnut holes from the oil and place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels ( to get rid of some of the oilfrom frying).
9. Then, while still warm, toss them in the sugar/cinnamon mix.
10. Serve while still lukewarm.

The Quarkbällchen (Quark Doughnut Holes) are delicious when eaten while still warm, on their own or with a homemade pear-apple compote.


The second Carnival pastries are "Eiserkuchen". I will call them "Waffle Rolls". They are rolled-up, crunchy waffles that you bake in a specialty waffle iron. What makes them special and extra crunchy, is the fact that the dough for these waffles contains dissolved rock candy, in addition to homemade vanilla sugar and cinnamon.

The batter for these delicious Eiserkuchen makes a crisp waffle that keeps for a long time if stored in a cookie tin with a cover that closes well to keep out any moisture which would turn the Waffle Rolls soft.

We enjoy eating them plain and sometimes with some whipped cream or even some really good vanilla ice cream on the side.

It takes a bit of practice rolling the piping hot cookies...

...and you will need a specialty waffle maker for these but they are certainly worth it.

Recipe for the "Eiserkuchen"
(Waffle Rolls)

Ingredients for the Waffle Rolls
  • 250 grams rock candy (white rock candy for a lighter colored waffle, brown rock candy for a darker colored waffle) or regular sugar
  • 1/4 l water
  • 200 grams unsalted butter 
  • 2 eggs (L) organic or free range whenever possible
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (from Ceylon if possible)
  • 1 package pure vanilla sugar (3 tsps) 
  • 250 grams AP (plain) flour
This recipe makes about 24 waffle rolls.

Preparation of the Waffle Rolls

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water, sugar and butter until the butter has melted and ths sugar is dissolved.
2. Transfer to a bowl and cool.
3. Preheat your waffle maker.
4. To the melted and cooled butter mixture, add the eggs, salt, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and flour and using a whisk stir the dough until it is well blended and all lumps are gone.
5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter in the center of the iron.
6. Bake for about a minute or two, then check for proper color.
7. Quickly remove the waffle from the waffle maker onto a rack. If the waffle is too hot to handle with your bare hands, use a cloth to help lift and roll the waffle
8. Hold the waffle roll a few seconds to set its shape then place on the wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: For the specialty waffle maker you could get the "Eiserkuchen waffle maker" from "Cloer" ( or a similar waffle cone maker (available for example from "Chef´s Choice" through


Friday, February 8, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin.

I was thrilled with this recipe, I have been making a similar recipe for the longest time and, particularly in wintertime,  we adore the combination of the fresh oranges and the pork, always have, always will. Dorie´s recipe is straightforward and just the kind of recipe I really enjoy making but also like to play around with – just so that the taste testers do not get bored.

Starting with the Pork Tenderloin which just happens to be one of my favorite pieces of meat –  is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It is a lazy muscle and as such is lean and very tender, but with less flavor than other cuts such as leg or shoulder. Pork fillet is very quick to cook but will soon dry out if overcooked. All you have to do is remove any tough white membrane or sinew from the outside of the tenderloin before cooking. I roasted the whole tenderloins and did not cut them into slices and then transferred them to the oven for about fifteen minutes, turned the oven off and let them rest a few minutes before slicing. The meat was tender and utterly delicious.

I also did not use regular oranges but my favorite oranges of all, namely the “Moro Oranges”, blood oranges from Sicily, Italy. Grown mostly in Mediterranean countries, blood oranges have a distinctive dark-red rind and flesh and taste tarter than regular oranges. They have a very short season in late winter, therefore, I try to make the most of their spicy tartness while I can. In most recipes, you can substitute ordinary oranges with blood oranges. They can also be used in soufflés, puddings, in marmalades, in jellies or ice creams, not only in sauces. The fiery color and unique flavor of blood orange juice also makes it a great addition to cocktails.

Then onto the side dishes, I chose to make Spinach Spaetzle with some farm fresh eggs and wonderful fresh winter spinach. We love the taste and the color of those Spaetzle, the color and lightness they get from the fresh eggs and the spinach are just delightful and they pair so well with the color as well as the taste of the sauce.

I also prepared some delicious Carrots as a side dish. I left some of the green tops on the carrots, split them in half and sautéed them ever so slightly in a mild olive oil and a bit of butter, together with freshly ground pepper, some sea salt and freshly squeezed orange juice. They were ready within minutes and were delicious together with the sauce and the rest of the dinner.

The cardamom pods had to make room for fresh whole Green Peppercorns (I always use the ones in brine that I will drain before using in my recipes) and I cut the oranges into slices and not into segments.

Overall, we adored the pork tenderloin with the spinach spaetzle, carrots, orange slices, pink peppercorns and the blood orange sauce – utterly delicious and perfect mid-winter fare.

The colors of our dinner were very bright - I believe this would make a perfect dinner for friends and whenever I see a recipe that lists oranges as one of the ingredients, I like to use my orange colored dinner plates and try to make an extra effort to decorate them in an appetizing manner. I won those plates at a cooking competition that, to put it mildly, was a bit on the exhausting side, and they are very dear to my heart.

To see how the other Doristas prepared the “Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin”, please click here.