‘Thömchen’ cake

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This is one of my favorite cakes ever. My mom has an old friend from some time she spend in Germany, and her nick name is Thomchen. This delicious hazelnut-chocolate loaf recipe come from her, so I have always known it as Thomchen-cake.

The cake is typically German in its use of hazelnut meal, which makes it wonderful rich and not overly sweet. You can use toasted or raw hazelnuts with equal success, the taste will be a little different, but I can’t say which is better.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g hazelnut meal (or hazelnuts) (3.5 oz)
  • 125 g butter (4.4 oz)
  • 200 g sugar (7 oz)
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 ml milk (0.5 cup)
  • 150 g flour (5.3 oz)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts (3.5 oz)
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate (3.5 oz)

Method:

1. Grind the hazelnuts to meal, if needed. You can use a regular food processor for this.

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2. Chop the chocolate and the remaining hazelnuts coarsely.

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3. Grease 2 loaf tins and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 175 C/ 350 F.

4. Mix the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy.

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5. Add the eggs one at a time.

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6. Mix in the milk.

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7. Add the flour, hazelnut meal and baking powder and mix well.

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8. Add the chopped nuts and chocolate.

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9. Scrape the dough into the prepared tins and spread it out.

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10. Bake for about 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You may have to cover the loafs with foil by the end if they get too dark.

11. Let cool for 5-10 min in the tin on a rack, then take out of the tins and place on a rack to cool completely.

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Rich, delicious without being super sweet – it is easy to eat more than one piece! I think this is a little different than many load style breads and cakes you get in the US.

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Chocolate Marzipan Loaf

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Many years ago, my husband gave me The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Chocolate, and this loaf cake is one of the great recipes in the book. It is not too sweet and the marzipan gives it at wonderful flavor.

Ingredients: (original recipe in The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Chocolate)

  • 115 g unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 150 g light brown sugar (5.3 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 150 g all-purpose flour (5.3 oz)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 130 g marzipan / almond paste (4.6 oz)
  • 100 ml chocolate chips ( 1/2 cup)

Method:

1. Grease a loaf tin and line bottom with parchment paper.

2. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C.

3. Cut marzipan into small (1/2 inch / 1.5 cm ) cubes. 

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4. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until creamy.

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5.Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.

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6. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa and mix.

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7. Fold in most of the chocolate chips and marzipan pieces, reserve about 2 tbsp of each.

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8. Scrape the batter into the loaf tin and smooth out.

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9. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips and marzipan pieces on top.

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10. Bake for about 45-50 minutes. The cake should be firm and the marzipan on top browned.

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11. Let cool in the tin for about 5 min, and them gently remove and continue cooling on a wire rack.

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Easy and yummy and a bit different. I recommend using a serrated knife or bread knife to cut it, as it is a bit crumbly.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin-13We had been getting a lot of different winter squash and pumpkins from our CSA recently.

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I decided to use the red Kuri to make this pumpkin bread from simplyrecipes.com. I added a bit more spice to it, and that was good – I feel I could have added even more, maybe doubling the amount of cinnamon would be good. I also used brown sugar, to give a richer taste.

As most loafs, this is simple to make, but if you do use fresh pumpkin it does take a while and add some work with cutting out the flesh and pureeing. You can easily use canned pumpkin puree if you don’t have a fresh. Start at step 6 if you have puree already.

Ingredients (original recipe on simplyrecipes.com):

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (200 g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200 g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (240 ml) or one pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (120 ml)

Method:

1. Prick pumpkin through the skin all over and place in a baking dish

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2. Bake for 1-2 hours at 375 F, until very soft

3. Cut open and scrape out the seeds.

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4. Take out the flesh with a spoon, or cut off the skin. I found the latter easiest. Puree the flesh.

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5. Reserve 1 cup of puree for the cake and freeze the rest, or use soon for something else. I got several cups from 1 medium sized squash.

6. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C and grease a loaf pan.

7. Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, spices and sugar.

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8. Mix together the pumpkin puree, oil and eggs.

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9. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, but do not over mix.

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10. Mix the nuts into the batter.

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11. Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for 50-65 minutes.

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12. Take out and cool on a rack, removing from tin after 5 minutes to cool completely.

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So very yummy! I usually don’t like cakes using oil as much as ones with butter, I think they sometimes feels a little more greasy, but this worked. It was a moist and delicious loaf. I think I will add more cinnamon next time, though.

‘English’ Tea Cake

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I love spice cakes, and my mom send me this recipe along when I asked her, I recall her making this from time to time during my childhood. It is an old recipe, my mom send me a scan of an old recipe card, I think it is from the 70s. It is part of a series of recipe that Danish flour company Amo distributed in stores at the time. They have also published all the old ones on their website, but it is of course more fun to use the one with my mom’s handwritten notes.

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I love the blend of spices of this, and all the raisins. Simple and delicious. I doubt it is actually English as such, but that is what they named it.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g all purpose flour (17.6 oz)
  • 250 g butter (softened) (8.8 oz)
  • 250 g sugar (8.8 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 ml milk (1 cup)
  • 250 g raisins (8.8 oz)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp gound cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder

 

  • Method:

1. Grease 2 loaf tins and preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F.

2. Use an electric mixer to mix sugar and butter until it is soft and fluffy.

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3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each

4. Add all the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder) and mix, then mix in the raisins.

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5. Pour the batter into the prepared tins

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6. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is well browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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7. Let cool a bit on a wire rack, then take them out of the tins to cool completely.

Enjoy with tea (or coffee)! You can see that I have half a cake with no raisins, my husband is not too fond of raisins in baked goods, so I make a bit for him without. However, since this cake is not really that sweet or moist without the raisins I can’t really recommend omitting the raisins.

If it gets a little dry after a few days, it is great toasted with butter.

Marble Loaf Cake

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There is something wonderful about a marble cake – though I prefer chocolate over vanilla cakes, there is a delightfulness over a the swirls of a marble cake.

I made this recently to have something for evening tea, and it is easy and delicious. The recipe contains yogurt, which is a great way to create a rich, moist cake. I adapted the recipe from JoyOfBaking.com, a great baking web site. I added a bit of cocoa powder to make the chocolate part more bitter, and turned down the sugar a little bit, I found the original recipe very sweet. I

Ingredients (original recipe) :

  • 4 oz dark chocolate (115 g)
  • 1/2 cup milk, divided (120 ml)
  • 1/2 cup butter  at room temperature (113 g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (195 g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 plan yogurt (60 ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:

1. Grease a loaf tin and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 F/ 160 C.

2. Chop and melt the chocolate in half the milk. You can use the microwave carefully to do this, or a double boiler. Mix well.

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3. Mix the sugar and the butter with a electric mixer until fluffy.

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4. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.

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5. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add to the egg, butter and sugar mixture.

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6. Mix the remaining milk, the yogurt and vanilla extract and add to the batter.

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7. Transfer half the batter to a separate bowl.

8. Mix one half of the batter with the chocolate and milk mixture, and the cocoa powder.

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9. Put spoonfuls of batter in the bottom of your tin, alternation between chocolate and vanilla.

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10. Repeat with a second layer putting chocolate on top of vanilla.

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11. Swirl a fork or wooden skewer through the cake. Don’t mix it, but swirl quite a bit to create a marble pattern.

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12. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is firm.

13. Cool on a wire rack for 5 min in the tin, then turn the loaf out of the tin to cool completely.

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I  made two loafs by doubling everything, it is still very easy. I ended up with a bit more chocolate batter than vanilla batter, but I am not complaining. Unfortunately we ended up eating the prettiest marble pieces before I got a nice picture, though!

Banana Bread

banana bread-6I love banana bread, and I find it even better loaded with nuts and chocolate. I find the concept of ‘load breads’ a bit funny – after moving to the US I was surprised to see the various breads at Starbucks and other places. I would call all those loaf cakes, and this is definitely a sweet cake.

I have adapted some recipes to make it my way, and I think this is pretty good. I wish it had a little more banana flavor, but I think it might be hard without artificial banana flavor. My husband claims that the chocolate masks the banana flavor, but that it is an excellent chocolate-nut cake. You can definitely add less chocolate or nuts if you want.

It is best with very, very ripe bananas. If they are not as ripe as you like, you can nuke them a bit in the microwave to make them soft. I was thinking if I could find some other ways of enhancing the banana flavor (maybe bake them first?), maybe next time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (400 ml)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (160 ml)
  • 1/3 cup butter, soft (38 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 cup very ripe bananas, mashed. About 3 bananas. (200-450 m1)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (120 ml)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (180 ml)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 F (180 C) , and grease a loaf tin. Mix together the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

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2. Mix in the eggs, mashed bananas and softened butter. Beat together, either with an electric mixer or by hand – if you do it by hand keep mixing until the butter is not lumpy.

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3. Add the nuts and chocolate chips and mix well.

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4. Pour the batter into your prepared tin, and bake for about min or until nice and brown. Let cool on a rack for a bit, them take out of the tin to cool completely. You can eat it while it is still a little warm, but the chocolate will be a bit messy.

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