Aniseed Pound Cake

anise pound cake - trustinkim.com

This aniseed pound cake is awesome with a coffee or cuppa tea. I happen to love the flavour of anise, so I was eager to make this recipe from Bijoux.com. The recipe calls for confectioners sugar (I call it icing sugar) to be sprinkled on top, but although that looks pretty, I’m not a fan of the metallic taste of the sugar.

The cake was really good even four or five days after baking! I put some of it in the freezer, and it was awesome to be able to pull it out when I had company coming for afternoon tea.

Of course, being Canadian I should have changed the name to ‘slightly less than half a kilogram’ cake, but that sounds a bit pedantic. And in this recipe no ingredient is a pound anyways, unlike the traditional pound cake that has a pound each of butter, sugar, egg and flour. So maybe I should call it pound-ish cake . . .

The only planning ahead you have to do is taking the butter and eggs out of the fridge early so that they can come to room temperature.

This recipe makes one 8-inch/20 cm loaf, or four small loaves.

What you need:

  • 1 cup/   1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 & 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons anise seed

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Butter the bottom of a loaf pan, then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer, beating on high for about 10 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs in one at a time on medium-low speed.
  4. Stir the flour, salt and anise seeds in by hand just until it is combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the tops a little. Tapping the pans down on the counter will help to settle the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Place the loaf pan on a rack and let it cool before removing it from the pan. 
  7. To store, wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap. You may freeze it if you wish.

Cranberry Coffee Cake

cranberry coffee cake - trustinkim

This coffee cake is a classic that everyone seems to appreciate eating, and one of the recipes I make more than any other. It makes a large cake or two smaller ones, so it’s great to make when baking for a crowd. I like to bring it to the staffroom for goodie day, or to a picnic. 

The sweetness of the nutty topping is a nice balance for the tartness of the cranberries, and the cake is moist and delicious. It is still great a few days after baking, but of course is the very best the day it’s made . . . especially when it’s still a little warm. 

Store in an airtight counter for a few days. Serve at room temperature.

What you need for the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not non-fat)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cranberries, frozen or fresh

What you need for the topping:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans are good for this too)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, then spray or butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan (or two round or square 9-inch pans – springform would be great).
  2. To make the topping, melt the butter, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Set this aside.
  3. Cream the butter along with the brown sugar, then blend in the egg.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Mix one-third of the flour mixture into the batter with a wooden spoon. Add half the yogurt and mix it until just it is incorporated. Mix in one-third more of the flour, then the rest of the yogurt, finishing with the rest of the flour.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in the cranberries, then pour into the baking pan. It is quite a thick batter, so you’ll have to smooth it a bit. Don’t worry too much about getting into all the corners, as it will fill in as it bakes.
  7. Sprinkle on the nut-sugar topping.
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Shortbread Cookies

shortbread - trustinkimThank you Tante Betty for sharing your amazing shortbread recipe with me!

I have made a few shortbread recipes over the years, but none were ever good enough to post on my blog. I finally asked my Tante Betty if she would share her recipe with me, and she was kind enough to send it.

Apparently there are two camps in the shortbread game. Some people feel strongly that just three ingredients make the best shortbread: butter, sugar and flour. The others prefer to also include cornstarch. I’m sure they’re all great, but to me this recipe with three ingredients (well, two types of sugar) makes the best traditional shortbread.

The only change I made to Tante Betty’s recipe was to cut the recipe in half. I want to make a few different kinds of cookies in smaller batches, so I decided to halve a lot of the recipes. Feel free to double the recipe to make the full four dozen. 

One caveat with this recipe: when cutting the cookies into your desired shapes, stick to a cookie cutter that is not too intricate. I tried making some awesome reindeer cookies, but they broke apart when I tried to put them on the cookie sheet.

So, here’s the recipe:

What you need:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

What you do:

  1. Prepare baking pans by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars with an electric beater. This will take 4-5 minutes to get it nice and fluffy. The sugar should become a lighter colour when you are done.
  3. Add the flour to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. You can do this the before if you want. Just take it out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to roll it out.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to less than one centimetre thick. Use floured cookie cutters to cut into your desired shapes. Place the cookies onto the cookie sheets.
  7. Bake two pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, for about 20 minutes (or less – check at around 15 minutes – they should not become brown). The back of the oven tends to be hotter, so if you flip the pans around they will bake more evenly.
  8. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool. They should be stored in an airtight container, and can be frozen for a few weeks.

shortbread - trustinkim

“Carrot Cake” Bran Muffins

carrot pineapple bran muffins - trustinkim

These moist and delicious muffins are a slight alteration of my previous favourite version.  They still have grated carrots, to give them moisture, and some raisins for a pop of sweetness. For this recipe I’ve chopped up some pineapple instead of apple, which adds to the carrot-cakey flavour. I’ve used pecans here instead of walnuts, and on the top I sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, just for that extra hit of flavour and some crunchiness.

On busy mornings I appreciate having some of these in the freezer. I warm one up a bit and enjoy it with a cup of tea, and it gives me some energy to start my day.

The recipe makes 12 large muffins, or 14-16 smaller muffins.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups All-bran Buds cereal
  • 1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk (or add a tablespoon of vinegar to regular milk to make your own)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 1 pineapple, chopped (canned is fine if you drain the liquid)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few tablespoons of brown sugar mixed with some cinnamon

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, soak the Bran Buds and raisins in milk for 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a dozen muffin tins with paper liners.
  3. Add the egg, oil and vanilla to the Bran Buds and stir it in. Stir in the grated carrots and pineapple, and at the last minute stir in the nuts.
  4. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet bran mixture until it is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins; it makes quite large muffins. Sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake immediately for 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes insert a toothpick into the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffin is done. If not bake for a few more minutes and test again.
  7. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack. You can eat them before they are cooled, but allow them to cool completely before freezing.

Caramel Topped Cinnamon Buns, an Overnight No-Knead Method

no-knead caramel cinnamon bun - trustinkim

I haven’t made cinnamon buns in over twenty years! Not sure what I’ve been waiting for . . . they are so delicious. The caramel on the bottom (which becomes the top) is my favourite part. And I like to roll the dough really thin so there’s a more of the buttery/brownsugary/cinnamony filling in each little bite. I love Solly’s cinnamon buns in Vancouver, and these are my attempt the recreate that recipe.

Recently I’ve been doing some experimenting with no-knead doughs. For a few years I’ve been making no-knead breads, and I’ve made a lovely foccacia, and now I’m excited to use the same method for these buns. They taste great, but I love that it’s an easy method, and that I can stir it up the night before I want to bake them, and then there’s dough all ready to go in the morning. The dough keeps in the fridge for a few days, so I was able to bake a fresh batch of cinnamon buns a few times.

I found the recipe for the dough on this site, and the basis for the filling and caramel topping here. In the first batch I found the filling didn’t have nearly enough cinnamon, and also not enough brown sugar, so I upped the amounts of both of those ingredients. And for the caramel sauce I used some vanilla ice cream in place of most of the heavy cream.

What you need for the dough:

  • 3 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup melted butter 

What you need for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed down
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

What you need for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (or vanilla ice cream, in which case you can add a little less honey)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. A day or two before you want to eat these, begin preparing the dough. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the milk, water, honey and butter.
  2. Combine the milk, water, honey and butter in a large glass measuring cup or small pot. In a microwave or on the stovetop the liquids until the butter has just melted – if it gets too hot, let it cool down before whisking the eggs in. Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients to make a sticky dough. Cover the bowl and let it rise for about two hours. Now put the dough into the fridge for at least 8 hours, and up to three hours.
  3. On baking day begin by making the filling. Beat the butter until fluffy, for 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Now make the caramel in a saucepan. Add all the ingredients to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring as it bubbles away. It should become a deep golden brown colour.
  5. Butter a baking dish, the size depending on how much of the dough you are going to bake off right now. Any remaining dough can be wrapped and frozen. 
  6. Pour some of the caramel into the bottom of the pan.
  7. Roll the dough on a floured surface, an thinly as you can. Spread some of the filling over it. Roll the dough up, then slice it into individual portions. Place each portion in the pan, arranging them so they are just touching. Let them sit with a loose covering for about an hour.
  8. Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 350F/190C. Bake the buns for about 40-45 minutes. They should be nicely browned on top, and the caramel should have firmed up, and even be candied in some places. Remove the pan from the oven for about 20 minutes before inverting the buns onto a serving plate.

No-Knead Fridge Foccacia

over night focaccia - trustinkim

Easy and delicious, this foccacia recipe has that perfect combination that makes it a winner. This is one of those no-knead breads, and although it’s easier than a typical bread, the long sitting time gives it a beautiful texture and flavour. Apparently the bubbles formed by the yeast perform the same action of creating gluten structure as the traditional hands-on kneading method.

You’ll need at least 24 hours, and up to 3 days, to make this foccacia, but most of it is hands-off time. I prefer the longer sitting time, if I’ve planned ahead enough.

I found this awesome recipe on alexandracooks.com

What you need:

  • 4 cups (512 grams all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • olive oil
  • fleur de sel/ sea salt for topping

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and mix it all together until there are no lumps. 
  2. Loosely cover the bowl with a lid, plastic wrap, or a damp towel held in place with an elastic band. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 12 hours, and up to 3 days.
  3. About 2-3 hours before baking time remove the dough from the fridge. Deflate the dough by pulling it away from the edges of the bowl.
  4. Line two pie plates with parchment paper or butter, then add about a tablespoon of olive oil to each plate. Divide the dough in two balls and place them into the pie plates. Turn the dough to coat it in olive oil. Let the dough sit for 2-3 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
  6. After it has risen pour a little more olive oil over the dough, then use your fingers to poke into the dough to make dimples. Sprinkle with sea salt/fleur de sel. Place the dough in the oven immediately. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden.
  7. Place the dough on cooling racks and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

Fudge Brownies (Rebar’s recipe)

rebar's vegan brownies - trustinkim

The recipe for these cakey brownies comes from Rebar Restaurant’s vegan fudge brownie recipe. In my version I used butter and real chocolate, instead of vegan margarine and carob chips. I’m printing the recipe up as a non-vegan one, so if you need it to be vegan you can use the ingredients in brackets. I’ve had this recipe both ways, and both are delicious.

The cake part of this is great, but it’s the glaze on top, and the chocolate chips in the cake, that make this for me.

You can also add some toasted walnuts to the batter if you wish.

What you need for the brownie:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coffee, cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk (soy, rice, or your fave alternative milk)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (carob chips)

What you need for the glaze:

  • 210 grams (7 oz) dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter (vegan margarine)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9″ by 9″ pan with butter and then line it with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder, then add the brown sugar and salt. Add the coffee, milk and oil, then stir until it is all combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool.
  6. To prepare the glaze use either a double boiler, or a bowl on top of a pot of lightly boiling water. Melt the chocolate and butter and whisk it together until it is smooth. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it so there is an even layer.
  7. Place the pan in the fridge to set. To slice, remove the cake from the fridge to warm a little before slicing. This will prevent the chocolate from cracking, and make your brownies prettier.