Goddess of Cake


Beetroot Cake with Coconut
April 26, 2009, 15:05
Filed under: Baking, Cakes | Tags: , , , ,

Beetroot seems to be my favourite ingredient these days… I had an idea of combining the same ingredients as I would for a beetroot stew that I sometimes make, but to make a sweet cake out of it.

Beetroot Cake

4 dl finely grated beetroot

1 tbsp finely grated ginger

4 dl wheat flour

3 dl muscovado sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp Orgran egg replacer

1 dl grated coconut

150 g vegetable margarine, melted

1/2 dl lime juice (juice of one lime)

2 dl coconut milk

Topping:

25 g vegetable margarine

1 dl soy yogurt

1/2  dl powdered sugar

I made this cake simply by first mixing the dry ingredients, including sugar and the egg replacer, in a bowl. Then I added the grated ginger and then the beetroot, and mixed carefully. Then I added the coconut milk and limejuice, mixed, added the melted margarine and mixed still a little bit more. It’s important not to mix these kind of cakes too much, in order to not make them chewy.

I poured the dough into a cake tin, which was greased and coated with grated coconut. I baked the cake for about an hour in the oven, in 175°C.

beetroot-cake1-copy

Then I made the the topping for the cake, by melting the margarine and mixing with the other ingredients. It was quite runny and not that pretty, but it didn’t matter so much, since I wasn’t going to transport the cake anywhere.

For the taste of the cake… It tasted surprisingly much of beetroot, but it wasn’t unpleasant. The difference between this cake and a carrot cake was that somehow  beetroot was more distinguishable in the ready baked cake, than carrot in a carrot cake.  So all in all:  a strange, but nice cake.  I don’t actually know for what kind of crowd it would be best suited for, but at least it would surprise most people.

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Cheesecake with Rhubarb and Halva

I have made now quite a few cheesecakes with this flavour combination, but previously I made on top of the cake a layer with pureéd rhubarb. This time I wanted to make two layers of mousse, first one with the taste of halva and the second one with the taste of rhubarb, and then put a thin glazing of rhubarb juice on top of the cake.

This cake was made for my friend Suvi’s babyshower.

halvacake

The crust:

75 g vegetable margarine

150 g vegan digestive cookies

The mousse:

2,5 dl oat vanilla sauce

500 g soy yogurt

200 g soy cream cheese, natural

150 g halva, traditional flavour

2 dl pureéd, sweetened rhubarb

2,5 dl water

2 tsp rose water

7 tbsp agar agar flakes

Glazing:

1 dl rhubarb juice

1/2 dl sugar with added pectin

I wanted to make this cake so that I would have two different layers of mousse, one with halva and the other one with rhubarb. I started in the morning by putting the soy yogurt in a colander that was lined with a coffee filter. In the evening, I started with the cake.

First I made the crust by breaking apart the cookies in a plastic bag and then crunching them with a rolling bin until they became crumbs. Then I melted the margarine and mixed the crumbs together with it. Then I lined the bottom of a springform cake pan, about 24 cm in diameter, with baking parchment. I patted the cookie crumb and margarine mixture on the bottom of the pan tightly. Then I put the cake tin in the fridge (or actually outside) to cool and harden for a bit.

Then I whipped up the oat vanilla sauce (it was of the kind that can be whipped). It could of course be substituted with e.g.  whippable soy cream. Then I added the soy yogurt and the soy cream cheese. Then I divided the mixture in two different bowls, and added 150 g of halva to the other, which I then mixed with a hand held mixer, in order to get the halva evenly mixed in. Then I added the pureéd rhubarb to the other mixture. I used a brand of pureéd rhubarb that is on sale in Finland, which includes quite a lot of sugar, so I did not add any to the mousse.

The I put 1, 25 dl of water in a pan and added 3 and 1/2 tbsp agar agar to it. Then I boiled the mixture until the agar agar flakes were diluted, mixing it every now and then. I personally find working with agar agar quite nerve – wrecking, since it the amount you should use varies so much depending on the brand. So I stick to the same brand.

Then I let the agar agar mixture cool just for a minute or two (it sets amazingly quickly!) and poured it, little by little, to the bowl with the halva mousse mixture in it, blending it in carefully. It is important to concentrate at this stage, since otherwise you might get a lumpy mousse. Then I poured the mousse onto the cake crust, and put in the fridge.

After that I made the second mousse mixture, exactly like the previous one, but also adding 2 tsp rose water in the pan when I was diluting the agar agar. This mousse I then poured on top of the other mousse layer on the cake crust. The previous layer had had time to harden enough so that the layers stayed separate. Then I put the cake in the  fridge.

The following morning I made the glazing for the cake. I made it with rhubarb juice and sugar with added pectin, which actually exists for making jam, but can be used for this also.  I simply heated the sugar and the juice and then spooned it on the cake so that it formed a thin layer on top. Then I decorated the cake with fruit and mint leaves.

The cake was otherwise well done, but I was a little bit disappointed with the ready made rhubarb pureè that I was using, since it was too sweet. I would have liked to have a really nice fresh taste of rhubarb in the top layer, but now it tasted merely of sugar. The brand of agar agar I was using is Clearspring Traditional Japanese Agar Agar Flakes. And even if I tried to overestimate, the amount  agar could have been slightly more, because the cake could have been a little bit firmer.



Whole Oat Risotto with Lemon and Cashew Nuts
April 17, 2009, 22:48
Filed under: Cooking | Tags: , , , ,

I usually don’t eat much rice, since the environmental impacts of rice are almost as bad as those of meat. Luckily there are many delicious substitutes for rice available. One that I use quite a lot is whole oat kernels. At least in Finland they are locally grown and can be obtained in organic stores. The thing with oat is that it becomes porridge very easy, so it is important to start cooking them in cold water, and preferably use too little water in the beginning, instead of too much. I usually start cooking them with about 50% more water than oats, and then add water little by little when the oats have absorbed it.

This time I decided to try to make some kind of a risotto out of them.

Lemon Risotto with Whole Oats (2 portions)

2 dl whole oats

3 dl water to start with

1 tsp salt

Half a lemon’s grated zest

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 dl oat cream

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 dl cashew nuts

I added the oats and cold water into a cooking pot, and let it boil until the water was absorbed. Then I added 1 dl of water and let the oats simmer on low heat until they were done. This took about 30 minutes, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on the oats, because the time might vary a bit, as well as the amount of water. Also they should remain a little bit chewy, since it is so easy to overcook them. When the rest of the water had absorbed, I added the oat cream, olive oil, and lemon juice, and let the pan stay on the cooking stove on low heat still for a while. Then I added the rest of the spices. The cashw nuts I roasted lightly on a pan and sprinkled on top.

whole-oat-risotto2

There is sometimes a slight bitterness in the taste of whole oats. I think combining them with lemon was a good idea, because the tang of the lemon covers this bitterness. Also cashew nuts were nice in this dish, since their sweetness complemented the sourness of the lemon  very well.



Rastafarian Bread Rolls
April 12, 2009, 12:07
Filed under: Baking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

readyrolls2-copy1

Bread Rolls in 3 Different Colours

Long time ago, me and some friends were doing this vegetarian cafetery thing for a reggae dance party. It was mostly for fun, and we were being quite creative with the dishes we made. I had this idea of making bread rolls with dough that would be dyed in rasta colours: green, red and yellow, using natural ingredients only.

This never happened though, since my friends thought the idea was quite revolting. But after all these years, I still remember it! And now I finally realised it for a birthday party of two year old twins Oka and Aarni.  I think the end result was gorgeous and I am very happy I finally did it..

First, I put on some reggae music. Jah Rastafari…

spiralroll1

Then I started by making a a batch of bread dough in quite the normal way. I usually use about 20 g of yeast for about a litre of water. I heated the water to 37 Celsius and diluted the yeast to it.  Then I added flour enough to make the dough feel like thick porridge. Then I let the yeast brew for about 30 minutes, until the mixture was bubbling.

After that I added 3 tsp salt, some more flour and some oat flakes, and divided the dough into three different bowls.

Then I added 1 dl of finely grated beetroot to one of them for red colour, 1 dl of finely grated carrot and 1 tsp turmeric to the other for yellow colour, and about 1/2 dl of frozen spinach and 1/2 dl  frozen, pureed peas to the third for green colour.

Then I added enough flour to all of the three to make a nice dough. After that I let the dough rise for about two hours.

dough

After two hours I baked the bread rolls. For the first batch, I simply made three long tubes of the dough and then combined them, and cut the result into pieces, rolled them a bit with my hand to get nice round shape, and put them on an oven plate.

firstbatchtubesfirstbatchpieces

For the second batch, I rolled the dough flat with a dough roll and then set the three slabs on top of each other. This construction I rolled into a tube so that the colours would form a spiral in the middle. Then I cut the tube into pieces and put them on an oven plate.

secondbatchslabssecondbatchpieces1

secondbatchrolls

Then I baked the rolls in the oven for about 20 minutes in 225 Celsius.

readyrolls1

The end result was both pretty and tasty, and I was quite happy how I got the different colours to show in the dough even after baking them in the oven. Though I realised that it was important not to bake them too much, since the first batch got a little bit too dark and brownish, and the colours weren’t so vivid. I knew from previous experience that beetroot makes a really beautiful red, and turmeric yellow, butI was especially happy for the green colour, because I thought it might be hard to create.




April Fool’s Day Savoury Muffins with Sun Dried Tomatoes
April 4, 2009, 14:52
Filed under: Baking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

What would be a better way to celebrate April Fool’s Day than to eat something that would appear sweet but actually is savoury?

sun-dried-tomato-muffins-copy1

Savoury Muffins with Sun Dried Tomatoes and a Lemon Topping

16 big ones

3,5 dl whole wheat flour

2 dl wheat flour

120 g vegetable margarine

4 dl oat cream

200 g sun dried tomatoes preserved in oil

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp salt

Lemon Topping

1,5 dl soy yogurt that has been drained a couple of hours in a colander, lined with a coffee filter

50 g vegetable margarine

1 tsp grated lemon peel

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tl salt

I melted the margarine in a pan, and left it to cool for a while. Then I mixed the dry ingredients, and chopped the sun dried tomato small and added it to the mixture. Then I added the oat cream and the margarine, and divided the dough into muffin forms.  Then I baked it in the oven for about 20 minutes in 200 Celsius, until the muffins were nicely brown.

I made the topping by mixing the soy yogurt together with the vegetable margarine and the other ingredients, using a hand held mixer.

I brought some of these to the name giving party of my friend’s son Markus. The guests were quite confused, but all the muffins got eaten…



Cabbage Soup with an Indonesian Flavour
April 4, 2009, 11:36
Filed under: Cooking | Tags: , , , ,

The main ingredients for this soup are very easy to find and cheap in Finland in the wintertime. Yet it tastes quite exotic, little bit like satay sauce, and you can almost forget the dull cabbage…  This recipe yields about 20 – 25 portions.

Peanut and Cabbage Soup

500 g onions

1 kg carrots

3,5 kg cabbage

8 garlic cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

3 green chillies

3 tbsp oil

4 dl peanut butter (the brand that I was using has salt and sugar in it, but it’s not overtly sweet)

1 dl vegetable fond

1 canned coconut milk

3 tbsp tomato paste

3 limes

water

salt to taste

I chopped all the ingredients finely, and fried the onions, ginger, garlic and chillies in a big cooking pot together with oil. Then I added the cabbage and the carrots, and fried them some minutes. Then I added enough water to cover the vegetables, the vegetable fond, the tomato paste and some salt and brought the mixture to boil. Then I let it simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the cabbage was completely soft and translucent. Then squeezed the limes, added the lime juice, the coconut milk and the peanut butter to the soup and let it simmer still for a bit. peanutsoup

The people whom I made this soup for, liked it very much, except for one who thought it tasted “strange, but interesting”. I am at the moment very fond of peanuts, and this soup fulfilled that craving very well.