Caramelized Apple Cake

apple cakeThis is a rustic kind of cake. Dense and buttery, it’s the type of cake that you serve on a Saturday afternoon when the leaves are golden yellow and red. You can eat it cold, but if you opt for warm, I strongly suggest you serve it with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
I can’t take all the credit for this one as it was made after being inspired by a recipe in Julie Andrieu’s book, Les Carnets de Julie. It’s a recipe handed down from a French granny, so you know it’s going to be good. Here’s my version:

Caramelized Apple Cake
Serves 4-6

  • 110g flour
  • 110g sugar
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into sections
  • 100g butter
  • 100g light brown sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 200C and butter an oval 10 1/2 x 8 inch dish. Using a standing mixer, mix the flour, sugar, softened butter, baking powder, ground almonds and egg. Once the dough comes together, take it out of the bowl and spread it over the buttered dish using your fingers. Top with the apples, pressing them into the dough. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, put the 100g butter and the light brown sugar in a small saucepan and allow the butter to melt while whisking. Once the mixture is smooth, it is ready. Take the cake out of the oven and pour the caramel sauce over it. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes. You can serve the cake cold, or warm with a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin-soupAs some of you may already know, I have been turning a blind eye to the end of summer. I had my first pumpkin spice latte yesterday (no, not the sugar explosions from that well-known coffee place, but my own), and I’ve already baked with my homegrown apples twice. What I haven’t done is put away the summer clothes just yet, but there was an unmistakable chill in the air today that gently whispered a dress probably hadn’t been the best option. A chill that also reminded me it was finally time to turn that pumpkin I had purchased a week ago into the first real autumnal soup of the season.
I love pumpkin soup and have many different recipes. The one I made today, however, is probably the easiest of them all. You simply roast your pumpkin with red onions, garlic and spices, add some broth and blitz in a blender. That’s all! Hardly work — tons of flavor, as roasting is known to do.
Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Serves 3-4

  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 4 small red onions, peeled and cut into sections
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried curcuma
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly-cracked pepper
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 600 ml hot vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 200C. In a baking tray, mix the pumpkin, red onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and oil. Roast for 40 minutes (stirring once) until nice and soft. Blitz the vegetables and stock in a blender; you may have to do this in batches. Serve with fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pour moi un kir, s’il vous plaît !

14322645_976255342501039_8657764148315173062_nfullsizerender-14 One of the biggest pleasures of dining out in France is being able to order a proper and simple kir, the most delicious of apéritifs, as far as I’m concerned!
In the latest issue of France magazine En Route — which just hit the newsstands across the Netherlands this week — you can check out my column on page 77 and find out more about the history of the popular drink. It is such a joy to write for this magazine because it gives me the opportunity to research one of the subjects I love most — French food & drink!
Happy reading, happy weekend and tchin-tchin!

Apple-Pecan Bundt Cakes with Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Glaze

bundtSeptember 14th and it’s 32C here in the Netherlands. I’m melting away again as I type, so you can only imagine how hot it was in my kitchen this morning while I baked up a new recipe for you (and for us, of course)!
It’s funny how the word ‘September’ immediately means fall to everyone, when, in fact, it’s still summer — officially, until next week. I’ve certainly seen my share of pumpkins, colorful leaves and even Halloween stuff on social media since the first of the month! For me, it’s a bit double. Yes, I like the fall (notice the word ‘like’), but summer is my favorite season, and I hate to see it go.
Interestingly enough, I still jump on the bandwagon. I couldn’t resist buying my first pumpkin at the Ekoplaza last Sunday (to roast, not use as a decoration), and apples and warm spices sure seem to be inspiring me — as you will notice from the following recipe.
These little apple-pecan bundt cakes are beautifully aromatic thanks to a touch of that wonderful French gingerbread spice for pain d’épices. If you don’t have it, feel free to replace it with pumpkin pie spices or Dutch speculaas spices. Both should work well. But oh, let me tell you about the topping! A lightly salted brown sugar & cinnamon glaze is the crowing glory to these very autumnal treats — and I’m not ashamed to admit I licked the pan clean… How could I not?! OK, OK… bring on the fall!
Here’s the recipe:
PS: You can also use a large bundt cake pan to make this recipe.

Apple-Pecan Bundt Cakes with Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Glaze
Makes 6 cakes

  • 220g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pain d’épices spices
  • 250g apple (approx. 1 large or 2 small, peeled, cored and finely chopped )
  • 100g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 150gr Greek yogurt
  • 80 gr butter, melted
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

For the glaze:

  • 50g butter
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • good pinch of salt
  • 2 heaped tbsps crème fraîche
  • powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C and generously butter and flour a mini-bundt cake pan. Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour, baking powder, pain d’épices spices, chopped apples and 90g of the chopped pecans. With a standing or hand-held mixer at medium speed, beat the yogurt, melted butter, sugars and vanilla extract. Beat in each egg one at a time while the machine is still running. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in to combine. Divide the mixture over the bundt tin and bake the cakes for approximately 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the tin before unmolding. When the cakes have cooled, place them on a rack (set on top of a large sheet of baking paper). To make the glaze, heat the butter and sugar in a small saucepan while whisking continuously for approximately 2-3 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Now whisk in the cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and vigorously whisk in the crème fraîche. Add in as much powdered sugar to make a glaze that you like. I prefer my glaze thick but not too thick, so I add about 5 tbsps. Drizzle the glaze over the cakes and top with the rest of the chopped pecans.

 

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