Category Archives: Baking

One Bowl Vanilla Cake

One Bowl Vanilla Cake
The simplest and easiest vanilla cake you can ever make. Just add all the ingredients to a bowl and give it a good mix and bake!.
An any occasion fluffy cake, perfect on it’s own or with your favourite frosting. The cake is very light and has a tender crumb so you can serve it for dessert too without it being too heavy.
The great thing about a vanilla cake is that you can add any flavor frosting, and everybody loves vanilla.
This is the recipe I always use when I need a cake in a hurry. These basic ingredients are usually in your cupboard and fridge, so you don’t need planning in advance.

The basics…

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
Grease two 20cm/ 8 inch round baking pans.
Line with parchment paper, grease again and I like to give them an extra dusting of flour. This will ensure the cake will come out completely without a trace left behind.
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl.
Mix until well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Pour into your prepared baking pans.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes on the center rack or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once baked, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove and cool completely before frosting. If you’re in a hurry place them in a freezer while you make your frosting.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake:
1/2 cup/113gr/ (one stick), very soft unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup/200gr. White caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups/200gr. sifted all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3/4 cup / 180 ml. Milk
2 tsp./10ml. vanilla extract

Vanilla Bakery Style Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (225 g) butter (1 stick) unsalted, room temperature
2 ½ cups (300 g) Powdered sugar
1 tbsp. /15 ml. vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1 to 2 tbsp. milk to softer consistency

NOTE: at this point you can add flavorings for filling the cake, separate about half a cup of the frosting and add your preferred flavor, like instant coffee, some cocoa, caramel, strawberry jam. Just add in small amounts so that the frosting doesn’t become too thin. This can now be spread on the cake layers for filling.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, place the butter and sugar and start beating on medium-high until fluffy.
Set mixer to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time.
Now add the flour, baking powder and salt. As it is mixing/combining pour in the milk and vanilla in a steady stream.
Mix until dry ingredients are well incorporated and no lumps remain.
Pour into your prepared baking pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes on the center rack or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once baked let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
Cream butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and combine well.
Finally, start adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time with the mixer on low.
Once all the sugar is in – whip the buttercream on a higher setting, for a good three minutes until light and fluffy. Add a little milk if you want the frosting softer.

Assemble:
Spread some frosting on each layer.
Use a spatula to frost the outside of the cake.
Pipe any leftover frosting if desired.
For a naked look – scrape off frosting from sides of the cake.

Crêpe Suzette filled with honey cream cheese

A non-boozy version of a delicious French Classic.

Instead of the Grand Marnier, triple sec or orange Curaçao liqueur that most Crêpe Suzette recipes call for, I have made an Orange syrup to pour over the Crêpes, perfect for the whole family. An added bonus is that you don’t have to flambé the Crêpes either, so it’s super simple. They’re also filled with whipped honey cream cheese and served with fresh Orange segments to add freshness. A true feast that the whole family will love.

Serves: 4

Prep time : 10

Total Time : 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

Crêpes:
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
• Pinch salt
• 2 eggs at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp. melted butter
• + 1/2 cup butter for baking the crepes
Orange Syrup:
• 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tsp. Cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp. water
Honey cream cheese:
• 3/4 Cup cream cheese at room tempered
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/8 tsp. Orange blossom extract (optional)
Extra for serving:
• 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned, skin removed

DIRECTIONS:

Crêpes:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour slowly and whisk until combined, add the melted butter and mix. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk until a thin consistency is achieved. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It’s important to let the batter rest, so the gluten can develop and the Crêpes will bake easier and they won’t tear as easily.
Heat an 20cm/8-inch skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add butter to the pan and swirl it around so the butter covers the entire surface. Ladle some batter onto the middle of the pan and immediately start swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the surface. Cook for 60 seconds or until lightly golden brown. Add a little butter to the uncooked side and flip over and cook the other side for 30-60 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
You may keep the crepes warm on a plate set on top of a pan with simmering water or covered with foil in a low-warm oven
Orange sauce:
In a sauce pan over high heat, bring the orange juice to a boil with the sugar, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the cornstarch slurry and cook until the mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Honey cream cheese:
Place the cream cheese in a bowl together with the honey and whip for a few minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add orange blossom extract if desired.
To serve:
Place a crepe on a warm plate. Spoon some cream cheese down the middle and roll the crêpe into a cylinder. Top with syrup and fruit and serve immediately. Serve 2 crêpes per person.

Enjoy!

Salmon, Asparagus and baby Spinach White Pizza

If you want to take Pizza Night to the next level, than stay with me. With this Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Pizza you going to treat yourself to a gourmet dinner.
On this Pizza I’m skipping the tomato sauce and replacing it with Crème fraîche, giving it a much softer tasting base to enhance the flavor of the fresh green Asparagus and the Smoked Salmon. They’re so wonderful on their own that just some fresh Oregano a soft gooey Buffalo Mozzarella suffice for this outrageously delicious Pizza. The Pizza base is made with half whole grain spelt flour giving it more bite and nuttiness.

Makes: 2 large Pizzas, or 4 small ones

INGREDIENTS DOUGH:

• 1 C. white Spelt flour
• 3/4 C. whole Spelt flour
• 1 tsp. Active dry yeast
• 1/2 tsp. sugar
• 2 tsp. Olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. Salt
• 3/4 C. lukewarm water

Or you can use one of the Freezer Pizza Bases

INGREDIENTS TOPPING:

• 1/2 C. Crème Fraîche
• 1 small ball Mozzarella
• A large handful thin green Asparagus (fresh or frozen, see note)
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
• 2 tbsp. Fresh Oregano leafs
• 1 C. baby spinach
• 4 oz. (Organic) smoked Salmon
• 1 tsp. dry chili flakes

If you prefer a meatier Pizza, why not try  Shawarma Roasted Red Pepper Pizza or Whole Spelt Pizza with Chorizo, caramelized Onions and Basil

And for low carb lovers the Broccoli Pizza

METHOD:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment combine all the ingredients for the dough. Knead for a few minutes until it comes together but is still sticky. Add a little more flour if it seems too wet. Using your hands, on a floured surface, form the dough into a ball. Oil a bowl lightly and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel or cling film and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile fry the asparagus (fresh or frozen) in a hot pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper just to color them a bit, depending on the size cook until just tender making sure to not over-cook. Set aside.


Preheat the oven to 230° C / 450° F position the baking tray upside down in the middle of the oven, this will make sliding the pizza in so much easier. Or if you have a pizza stone place it on a rack in the middle of the oven.
Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter. Divide the dough in two. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll the dough out until you have a thin flattened disk. Place the pizza on a piece of parchment paper and then use your hands to gently pull the dough into a free style round-ish shape.


Spread a generous amount of Crème Fraîche over the bottom, the one clove of garlic grated over each pizza (or finely chopped), spread out over the Crème Fraîche. Sprinkle with fresh Oregano and baby spinach.
Then top with Mozzarella, Asparagus and chili flakes.
Transfer the pizza by lifting the parchment paper onto a large cutting board or use a pizza peel if you have one and slide it on to the hot baking tray/pizza stone with the parchment paper still underneath.
Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and the crust golden and crispy.
Remove onto a large wooden board and divide the smoked Salmon over the pizzas. Sprinkle with some more Oregano and eat straight away.
Best served with White Wine or ice cold Beer.

Enjoy!

If you make this Salmon, Asparagus and baby Spinach White Pizza be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog

Matcha Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Let’s talk about Matcha.

Matcha is the finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea.

It is special because the green tea plants for Matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, this is how it produces more theanine and caffeine.  This combination of chemicals is considered to account for the calm energy people might feel from drinking Matcha. The powdered form of Matcha is consumed dissolved in water or milk.
I love Matcha dissolved in almond milk sweetened with a little honey. Known as the “Matcha Latte”. And the calm energy part is the perfect description of the energy you feel after a cup of Matcha, it’s not like when you drink too much coffee, where you might feel uncomfortable with a raced feeling. Matcha just gives you tons of energy due to the high levels of Theanine. Theanine makes the brain produce alpha waves, which induce a state of relaxation and focused attention, similar to meditation. Matcha has a high amount of EGCG, a plant chemical that stimulates cell suicide in unhealthy cells, and stimulates metabolism as well.
It also has one of the highest ORAC values and is therefore a potent antioxidant. The ORAC value for Matcha is 1348 units per gram, compared to 24 units for blueberries.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) unit, ORAC value, or “ORAC score” is a method of measuring (in vitrio) the antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements. The higher the food on the ORAC scale the more effective it will be at neutralizing free radicals.

Since I love  Matcha so much I have come up with many ways to incorporate it into baking. Today I’m sharing one of my favourite recipes for Matcha Cupcakes,  with a delicious white chocolate buttercream.

Makes: 12 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cupcakes;

  •  1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. Matcha green tea powder, culinary grade
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  •  1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup butter or margarine
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk + 1/4 cup milk, mixed in a jug

For the Buttercream;

  • 5 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 Cup butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 1/4  Cup confectionary sugar
  • 2 tsp. Matcha powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sift flour, Matcha, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the bowl.
  4. Meanwhile line a cupcake tin with liners and pre heat the oven to 180° C. / 350° F.
  5. Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mix with a spatula and do not over mix.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half way.
  7. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out dry.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack before frosting.

To make the buttercream;

  1. Melt the white chocolate au bain-marie by bringing a pot of water to a simmer, suspend a bowl in the pot without touching the water, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in the bowl, leave to melt stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula .
  2. Meanwhile beat the butter with your mixer until fluffy, slowly add the confectionary sugar and the Matcha powder, mix until well incorporated.
  3. Once cooled, slowly add the melted chocolate and beat quickly to incorporate.
  4. You may have to put the butter cream in the fridge for half an hour if it is too soft before piping onto the cupcakes.

To assemble:

  1. Simply place the buttercream in a piping bag and put on your favourite tip. Squeeze the buttercream gently in a circular motion over the cupcake until you have a nice peak. Decorate with flowers and/or sprinkles.

Enjoy!