Chocolate hazelnut flourless cake

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Stateside, everyone is busy getting ready for the holiday… including myself. So I will make this one short… and sweet. Very sweet indeed.

No pumpkin, no pecans, no pie or cream. Just pure chocolate goodness.

I had bought some hazelnut butter to make chocolate hazelnut pots de crème from Cannelle & Vanille (delicious, by the way), and wanted to find other ways to use it.

This flourless cake is remarkably healthy as far as desserts go, with very little sugar, and we found it was a perfect balance of chocolate and hazelnut. Pablo, who has more of a weakness for cheese than a sweet tooth, did enjoy licking that bowl thoroughly!

 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving, and being ever so grateful for every one of you reading these words, wherever you may be.

Chocolate Hazelnut Flourless Cake

Prep time: 20 mn

Cook time: 20 mn

 

Age for babies: From 12 months, as a rare treat, though I didn’t give Pablo chocolate until 15 months.

3.5 oz dark chocolate (70%)

3/4 cup unsalted, unsweetened hazelnut butter

3 tbsp milk

3 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)

4 eggs (4 yolks, 3 whites)

Preheat the oven at 350°F.

Mix the hazelnut butter with the milk, warming it for about a minute in the microwave.

Melt the chocolate either in a hot water bath or in the microwave with 1 tbsp of water.

Mix the hazelnut butter and chocolate together, let cool.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar, add in the potato starch. Then incorporate the egg mixture into the chocolate-hazelnut cream. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them in gently with a rubber spatula in the chocolate-hazelnut mixture.

Pour the mixture in a buttered cake mold or individual molds.

Bake for about 20 minutes if in a square cake mold (7-9 minutes if in smaller individual molds).

A savory cake recipe

I recently fell in love with an expression I read in this insightful parenting article : “exuding trust”. 

It is the perfect way to express something very intangible. A way to be within oneself that can be sensed by others. All between the lines. Just a feeling, an impression of someone. I have found this to be one of life’s best kept secrets. Sometimes we get so anxious, scared, threatened, insecure, competitive. We project too much into the future, our expectations are unrealistic, projections of our neurosis. Too many nervous “what ifs”. And when we feel all those things, I am pretty sure what we “exude” to those around us is a far cry from trust.

In the past, I have often felt that I needed to have things “figured out”, and have felt uneasy and anxious about life’s uncontrollable variables.  Pablo is turning two in a few days, and interestingly, my recent birthday had me thinking about my shortcomings, whereas his birthday is reminding me of how much he has taught me.

And he has most certainly taught me the importance of exuding trust. An inner trust in the process of  things, in trial and error. A trust in the beautiful struggle that life is. A trust that things will happen naturally, when and how they need to happen, even if I have no idea when and how just yet.

It’s being optimistically open-minded, in a serene, peaceful way. I’m pretty amazed I’m even able to achieve that state. Not 100 % of the time of course, but getting better at it.

The thing about this open-minded-optimism-trust-exuding business, is that it is self-fulfilling. Just like the anxious-insecure-stress-inducing-doubt-exuding is. And the serenity that comes out of that trust, is contagious (just like the antsiness that comes out doubt and fear.) When someone we trust exudes trust, it is so reassuring, isn’t it?

With Pablo, it’s been about exuding trust that he will learn what he needs to learn when he is ready to do so, that his strong emotions (i.e. tantrums, he is 2 after all) are normal and come and go, that he can listen to his body… This inner trust makes me feel grounded, gentle, clear and calm, and I can be the gentle leader he needs in order to thrive.

I have also found this to be very true at the table. Having this inner trust that my child will enjoy good food, if not the first time, then the next time or the 10th time, that he may like something I dislike, that he will eat what his body needs. I am always optimistically open-minded about food, and as a result, so is Pablo.

When it came to food and Pablo’s education of taste, maybe because of my culture or upbringing in France, I never had doubts, I trusted that if I exposed him to good foods, he would enjoy them. Or at least some of them. I had this inner (somewhat unconscious at first) certainty that the enjoyment of good food, of a pleasant meal, would not be a problem. That it would be a natural thing. And so it is.

Applying that trust in other areas of my life has been the real lesson for me. In parenting, writing, marriage, work… Letting go of doubt, of those uncontrollable variables, and trust that life will take its course as it must, and that I will learn, survive, grow from what it brings.

Perhaps exuding trust is simply being able to tell oneself (and believing it), “It’s going to be okay, even if I don’t know how (or when).”

I am facing a considerable trust-exuding challenge this coming weekend as we are preparing for Pablo’s birthday party. Much much cooking,  and logistics, will be involved. In the past, I have faced such events with a lot of stress and have spoiled the mood a bit for those around me.

This time, I am exuding trust that things will be great even if they are not perfect, that Pablo will have fun and feel loved and celebrated, that our friends will have a nice time and enjoy good food. I shall report back on this and let you know how I did 🙂

In the meantime, I would love to share the recipe for one of my favorite “party foods”: the savory cake. There are countless versions of it, it is fairly easy to make, and most definitely a crowd pleaser. Kids usually love them, it is similar to a savory “bread”, a fun finger food. I make them on a regular basis for barbecues, picnics or potlucks. They also make an easy and delicious cold lunch (very convenient for a lunchbox as well, I would think).

Spinach, watercress, fennel cake

Adapted from Les Cakes de Sophie by Sophie Dudemaine

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 45 min

Age for babies: 10-12 months.

3 eggs
1 heaping cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup (4.5 oz) whole milk
3.5 oz grated Swiss cheese (mozzarella could work too, though less flavorful)
1 bunch of watercress
2 bunches of spinach
1 medium fennel bulb
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 pinch nutmeg
2 pinches salt
2 pinches pepper

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cut the stems of the fennel off and discard, wash the bulb. When the water is boiling, place the bulb in and blanch (cook) it for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the watercress and spinach leaves thoroughly, cutting off the thicker parts of the stems.

Remove the fennel bulb with a slotted spoon (keep the water). Run the fennel under cold water, then place in a kitchen (or paper) towel to absorb moisture.

In a pan or Dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp butter and § tbsp coconut oil over medium-low heat. Cut up the fennel into small pieces, and add it in with a pinch of salt & pepper, the sesame and 1 tbsp of water. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often (don’t let the fennel brown), until soft.

While that cooks, put the watercress and spinach in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Drain the watercress/spinach well (pressing with a spoon to squeeze the water out) and put in a kitchen (or paper) towel to absorb moisture.

In a pan over medium low heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Add in the watercress/spinach, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the nutmeg. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring often (at that point, you’re stirring both pans simultaneously, the fennel and the greens).

Warm up the milk (I like to use baby bottles for measurement, you can stick it for 1 min in the microwave).

In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together, add the eggs in and whisk with a fork (I find the fork easier than the whisk in this case, as the mixture is quite thick).

Little by little, whisk in the oil, then the warm milk. The mixture will become thinner and easier to whisk. Stir in the grated cheese. Then add the watercress/spinach and the fennel.

Butter a rectangular cake mold and pour the batter in. Bake for about 45 minutes (it is done when a knife or toothpick comes out clean.)

Let cool. Eat at room temperature.

Awesome orange (and chocolate) cake

So I found this awesome recipe for a wonderful orange and chocolate cake that is super easy to prepare and doesn’t even have any butter in it, so you do not have to feel guilty if you have one slice too many….

Awesome orange (and chocolate) cake

Ingredients

  • 3 organic oranges
  • 11oz. of sugar
  • 5 oz. flour
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoos baking soda
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • saffron (optional)
  • For the glaze

  • 9 oz. chocolate
  • 1 cup milk or cream or half-half depending on how naughty you feel

Directions

  1. First take 3 organic oranges (it is important that they are organic because you are using everything, including the peel and orange peel apparently absorbs pesticides like a sponge…). Cut them into fourth and place them in a blender, peel and all. Once they are blended down to a pulp, add 11oz. (300g) of sugar, 5oz. (150g) of flour, 4 whole eggs, 2 table spoons of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Mix everything until you have a rather smooth and liquid mixture. Pour the mixture in a cake mold and bake it in the oven for 40-50 min at 380-400F.
  2. For the ganache:

  3. If I do the cake just for myself to snack on for breakfast or so, this is the end of the cake, it is awesome just like it is and as there is no butter in it I don’t feel that guilty eating it. But if you want to make an impression, or you loooooooooove chocolate, you can glaze it with chocolate. This is how I do it.
  4. Break about 9oz. of chocolate into small pieces (use good quality chocolate, it’s worth it!) and add 1 cup of boiling hot heavy whipping cream (or half half or even milk if you are watching your waistline), mix it until the chocolate is all melted. If the mixture becomes cold too quickly and chocolate doesn’t melt entirely, pop it in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds, mix again and repeat if necessary. Never let the chocolate in the microwave for more than 20 sec otherwise you risk overheating it and it separates.
  5. Now cut the cold cake in half and spread some of the chocolate ganache (that is the name of the chocolate sauce) in the middle, recompose the cake and use the rest of the ganache to glaze the cake.
  6. I prepared the glazed version yesterday as a thank you cake…. hopefully it will be successful!
  7. Note on the ganache:

  8. Now the correct procedure to make chocolate ganache, would be to warm up the cream, put the chocolate in a double boiler, with the water at a simmer, pour the boiling cream onto the chocolate and let melt in the double boiler. I find that with this procedure, overheating the chocolate is easier, plus is much more practical to use a plastic microwavable bowl than a double boiler and the results are great anyway….

3.1

– Add a handful of chocolate chips to the cake mixture
– Add saffron to the cake mixture (not sure what it does, but it is in the original recipe, I did it both with and without saffron and didn’t really notice any difference)
– Add a bit of rum or grand marnier to the mixture
– Soak the cake in liquor before glazing it
– Don’t add any oil ( I baked the cake once forgetting the oil, and there was no noticeable difference in the final result)

Yogurt tea cake recipe

As usual I had something close to going bad in the fridge. In this case it was yogurt. So I decided, after much solicitation form my BF, to bake a yogurt cake. I had never baked yogurt cake before, so I looked around the internet and I found that there is a general consensus on how to bake yogurt cake. Pretty much everyone uses the yogurt cup as a measuring tool and 7 yogurt cups worth of ingredients go in the mixture. I used Manu’s recipe as a guideline and for once I did not change much: the recipe looked simple and good enough without any need for adjustments….

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 spoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil (I used olive, but I think a more neutral vegetable oil might be better)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs

Directions

  1. I put in a mixer yogurt, flour, sugar, baking powder, oil, milk, a pinch of salt, and finally added 3 eggs while the ingredients were mixing. I poured the mixture in a loaf oven dish previously greased and floured and put it in a 390F oven for about 1 hour. I let it set for a while before slicing it. For an extra touch you can dust it with powder sugar.
  2. It is perfect for tea or breakfast: it is similar to a pound cake but much lighter.

Easy chocolate cake recipe

So I am quite new to blogging and I am looking for ways to be more e-social and for ways to challenge me in my culinary adventure. I saw post of the Burwell General Store recipe swap and I found it quite inspiring. I love the idea of personalizing recipes and I like they are old recipes. I remember when I was a kid my grandmother had one of those old cooking books that she would use when cooking, now that old book is in my mothers’ hands and it is just fascinating to look at it and look at how people used to cook and think about cooking. So I love the idea of reinterpreting old dishes and put my mark on it.

Anyway this month challenge is this “‘Busy Day Wacky Cake”:

I looked at the recipe and I immediately decided that I wanted to bake my busy day chocolate cake. Similar to the one proposed, my recipe is for a chocolate cake and is super fast. If your kitchen is tidy and well organized it won’t take you more than 30 min start to finish, if like me you are scrambling to find all the ingredients and utensils it might take 45 minutes. And this include baking time! So here is how I bake it.

Recipe swap: busy day chocolate cake

Ingredients

  • – 7 oz. dark chocolate
  • – 7 oz. butter
  • – 5 oz. sugar
  • – 3.5 oz. flour
  • – 4 eggs
  • – pinch of salt

Directions

  1. First I melt 7 oz. of dark chocolate in the microwave. I find that it is crucial to choose good quality chocolate . Then in a food processor I mix 3.5 oz. of flour, 5 oz. of sugar, 7 oz. of butter, 4 yolks, 1 pinch of salt and the melted chocolate (I let it cool down a bit so it doesn’t cook the eggs). While the ingredients are in the food processor, I beat the egg whits until stiff. Finally I slowly mix the egg whites in the chocolate mix. I then pour the egg whites in the chocolate mix and carefully mix the two . Then I put everything in the cold oven and turn it on at 380F and let cook the cake for 20-25 Minutes. It is important that the oven is cold because you want the middle of the cake to stay moist and starting with a cool oven allows you not to overcook your cake.
  2. Pay attention in sharing this cake: the last 2 times I made it for friends’ birthdays I was forced to re-bake the cake at all future birthdays…