‘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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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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