Almond Coconut Birthday Cake

Happy weekend everyone!! This was a very special week for us; we celebrated our daughters 18th Birthday! I have to admit this comes with some mixed feelings and maybe a few secret tears:) Yes my babies are growing up, making me think back to when they were little, time goes by so fast indeed, but now I have a grown up daughter, and I am very proud of the young lady she’s become!

We share a love for all things coconut, usually my kids let me know what kind of cake they would like to have on their birthday, but this year they were both asking for a surprise:) I’ve made her a almond coconut cake with raw Raffaello truffles, you could of course use the real Raffaello truffles. I’ve made the cake refined-sugar free; almond coconut sponge filled with coconut whipped cream, so simple but so delicious!

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If you love coconut you’ll love this cake!!

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Almond Coconut (Raffaello) Cake

Almond Coconut Sponge

  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup honey or sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds, ground
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 500 ml whipping cream, 35%, chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or icing sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 8 or more Ferrero Raffaello truffles, optional
  • lightly toasted shredded coconut, optional

-Grease and line a bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 340F/170C.

-Separate egg whites from yolks. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and start mixing until foamy. Gradually add honey or sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

-Mix egg yolks with almond extract and fold into the whipped whites.

-Mix together ground almonds, coconut and flour then gradually and carefully incorporate into the whites.

-Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.

For the whipped cream frosting:

-In a large bowl mix the whipping cream and the vanilla sugar. Whip until lightly/almost stiff then gradually add the honey or icing sugar, as sweet as you like it, continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold in the shredded coconut.

Assemble the cake:

-Divide the sponge cake into 3 layers. Place one layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 cup coconut milk over the cake. Spread evenly with a bit less then a third of the whipped cream. Top with second cake layer and repeat. Add the third layer of cake. Cover the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream, leaving it like that or get creative with piping rosettes and so on. Decorate with Raffaello truffles and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Tip: You could get fancy and drizzle some coconut liquor (Malibu) over the sponge layers:)

 

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Happy 18th Birthday!

Enjoy!

Ursula

 

Follow me on Instagram: littleswisslittlecanadian

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plum Rose Tarts with an Almond Shortbread Crust

Happy weekend everyone!

Fall has finally arrived! It’s been crazy hot lately, which made it kind of harder to think of fall baking:) I’ve found some beautiful local plums and like every year turned them into some kind of dessert(s). Our annual favorite happens to be a Zwetschgen-Streusel Cake (Plum-Crumble-Cake). I took the recipe from my Peach-Crumble-Cake/ Pfirsich-Streuselkuchen just used plums instead of peaches, so delicious!

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Instead of using apples to make roses I thought I give it a try with plums. It was a little tricky because the plums were very soft, you definitely need some patience;), in the end I was happy, it worked out beautifully!

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Baked in a yummy almond shortbread crust

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Plum Tarts with an Almond Shortbread Crust

Yields: 4 small tarts

Almond Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely ground
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lg egg yolk

-In a small bowl, with a whisk, mix together butter, honey almond extract and egg yolk. Add flour, almonds and salt. Mix until well combined. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

-Start with cutting about 5 plums into very thin slices, once you assemble the roses you see if you might need more.

-Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 4 small tart forms.

-Take dough out of refrigerator and let it sit for a few minutes, otherwise it is very hard to roll out. Then roll out and cut to fit into each form, prick crust with a fork and place again in refrigerator for a few minutes.

-Assemble roses by starting on the outside working toward the center.

-I used a simple milk, egg, honey and cinnamon filling from my Peach Tart , I only used a little bit in each tart.

-Bake in preheated 375F oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350F, for another 10-15 minutes, bake until golden brown and liquid is set. Cover with tin foil if crust is golden brown but liquid is not set. Let cool before taking out of forms.

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In memory of my late father-in-law who passed away one year ago.

 

Ursula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Semi-frozen Strawberry Tarts

I hope you all have or had a lovely Sunday!! We are going through the first hot weather this year, today it is 32C, and humid in southern Ontario! It would be so nice to jump into a pool right now…

We finally went to a Strawberry Farm at the beginning of the week and bought a lot of strawberries:) And we are picking the first few from our garden. After that amazing Strawberry-Coconut-Cake for my birthday I am back at making also a little bit more healthier treats again. I totally love strawberry tarts, I had two;) when I was in Switzerland (forgot to make a picture). So instead of making a pastry crust, I made an unbaked, raw nut base, filled it with my coconut custard from Coconut Custard mini tarts with mixed berries and put it in the freezer, then decorated it with strawberries-that easy, so refreshingly delicious!

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Semi-frozen Strawberry Tarts

 

-Makes 10 tarts

 

Coconut-Custard:

-get recipe here: Coconut Custard mini tarts with mixed berries

-Prepare ahead of time. It needs a few hours to cool and set in the fridge.

 

No bake nut base:

  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

-Blend nuts together until coarse crumbs, add rest of ingredients, pulse a few more time until holds together. Press into cupcake tins. I used silicon forms, slightly greased.

 

Decoration:

  • Strawberries

 

-Once the custard is set, you can fill the cupcake tins. Let freeze for a few hours. It will be easier to take out of the form. Decorate with Strawberries and keep in the refrigerator for semi-frozen or put it (without the berries) back in the freezer. My husband and I liked it more semi-frozen, my kids liked it really cold;) LOL

 

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How do you beat the heat?

 

 

Enjoy!

Ursula

 

You can find me on Instagram: @littleswisslittlecanadian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Sting Cake/Bienenstich

Hi there, I am finally back! I’ve had a wonderful trip to Switzerland-visiting my family, I really really enjoyed it:)

I thought you might like to see some photos I took:

 

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Lake Thun

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Eiger, Moench, Jungfraujoch

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Beatenbucht, Lake Thun

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Schloss/Castle Schoenau

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Spitzbub Cookie

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Nussgipfel

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Bienenstich/Bee Sting Cake

Seeing all the yummy stuff over there, I thought of making Bienenstich, Bee Sting Cake. A famous German Cake.

 

Bienenstich

Yeast Dough

  • 250 g all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 50 g soft butter
  • 1 tbsp quick instant yeast
  • 200 ml milk, warm
  • 1 egg

For the topping:

  • 50 g butter
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 100 g almond shavings

Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 400 ml milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod

For the dough: In a bowl mix together flour, salt, sugar, add butter and mix well. Add Yeast, milk and egg. Knead dough well until smooth dough forms. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size.

For the Almond topping: In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together butter, honey, milk and almonds until warm, remove from heat.

For the pastry cream: In a medium saucepan mix together, and bring the milk, corn starch, sugar, egg and vanilla pod to a boil, while whisking. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, cover with a plastic wrap touching the cream to prevent a “skin” forming on top. Let cool down a bit then put in the fridge until set.

-Preheat oven to 350F/180C. You can use a round cake pan or a square pan.  Line with parchment paper.

-Roll out dough to fit the pan, let rise again. Cover with almond topping and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

-Cut cake in half. Spread pastry cream on bottom then cover with top. Cut in desired slices. Store in Refrigerator.

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Enjoy!

Ursula

 

 

Follow me on Instagram: #littleswisslittlecanadian

Almond Croissants

These lovelies, called “Nussgipfeli”, are one of my favorite pastries to eat when I am in Switzerland. Usually made with a hazelnut filling, either using a puff pastry or a yeast dough, is so good. One of the most iconic Swiss treats.

Here usually you can find almond croissants. These are really yummy too. It is actually pretty easy to make. You can use a puff pastry or make a sweet yeast dough like I did.

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I am very excited because I am going to visit my family in Switzerland for the next two weeks:)!! Looking forward to see everyone, but mostly my dad who did turn 70 this April. He was very sick last year, undergoing a major heart surgery and we are just happy and thankful to be able to celebrate this special birthday.

On the other side I have to admit I am also looking forward to all the good food;)

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Almond Croissants 

Yields: 8

Sweet yeast dough:

  • 300 g unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp honey or sugar
  • 60 g butter
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast

-In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, yeast and honey.

-In a saucepan warm/melt butter with the milk.

-Add butter and milk to the dry ingredients and mix well. Knead dough well until smooth ball forms. Place back into bowl then cover with plastic foil. Let rise until doubled in size.

Almond filling:

  • 150 g almonds or hazelnuts, finely ground
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar, or 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-6 tbsp milk or cream

-Mix all ingredients together. The filling should be moist.

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • almond slices

-Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-On a floured surface roll out dough into a circle.

-Spread thinly with apricot jam then cut into 8 wedges.

-Spread filling onto wedges. Roll dough up into a croissant. Let rise for another 15 minutes.

-Brush with some egg wash then bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

-Brush warm croissants with some icing: 100g powdered sugar, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice mixed together. Sprinkle with almond slices.

–I brushed it with honey;)–

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Enjoy!

Ursula

 

You can find me on Instagram @littleswisslittlecanadian

 

 

 

Swiss Carrot Cake

I hope you all had a happy Easter! And we certainly can not complain about the longer weekend;) Here in Canada our kids do not have spring vacation like my nephew and niece have in Switzerland. So we take the extra two days off of course! Also the weather was pretty nice and warm on Easter Sunday.

We have been making a few treats, like these carrot cookies!

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I will definitely make these again, these cookies were so soft and just yummy!! I used coconut sugar for sweetening. I might be posting the recipe another time.

This year I colored our eggs traditionally with onion peels.

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But the grand dessert was our carrot cake. Now a European carrot cake is a bit different than a North American carrot cake. So once in a while I like to make it the way I grew up eating it. Also in Switzerland you decorate a carrot cake with Marzipan carrots and I made some “grass” also using Marzipan. Now here in Canada, because you can not buy the finished product, you will have to make your own “carrots” using plain Marzipan and food coloring. I was lucky that my mom brought those when she was visiting:) This is not the original recipe I have in my 1982 Betty Bossi book: Kuchen, Cakes & Torten, rather a bit of a lighter version with less butter and flour. I admit, I did use coconut sugar, which turned out beautiful. We really, really liked it! And it is a keeper all year long! Make it a day or two in advance, it will taste even better:)

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Swiss Carrot Cake

  • 240 g almonds, ground
  • 300 g carrots, shredded
  • 90 g butter, unsalted, melted
  • 6 eggs, egg whites separated
  • 230 g sugar
  • 1 organic lemon, zest
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 60 g unbleached flour

-Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of a 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.

-Cream together 100 g sugar and egg yolks. Add lemon zest, salt, cinnamon and clove. Mix in carrots, flour and nuts.

-In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. Slowly add 130 g sugar then whisk again until shiny.

-Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the first batter and carefully mix under. Then add the rest. Mix in melted butter just until combined.

-Fill in prepared baking pan and bake for about 45-50 min, or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Decoration:

  • almond shavings (around 50g)
  • apricot jelly, or jam warmed and then strained through a sieve. Spread around cake then sprinkle the almond shavings on.
  • Marzipan carrots
  • green Marzipan (around 200g), roll out, in between plastic wrap, to cover the top. Then make some “grass”.
  • or plain marzipan and orange and green food coloring and some pistachios for the “carrot top”.
  • using a garlic press to make the “grass”
  • Some chocolate eggs

 

-You can also simply dust the cake with icing sugar.

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If you never had a European style carrot cake you might want to give this a try;) just saying…!!

 

Enjoy!

Ursula

 

Chocolate Squares (Studentenschnitten)

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!!

It can be very tricky to translate a German word/sentence, because if you do translate word by word it often does not make any sense. This cake is called Studentenschnitten, which means student slice. This does not sound so great, therefore I will call it simply, Chocolate Squares. You can buy it ready made in Switzerland, and that is what my Mother and everyone else I know used to do-we never made it ourselves…

This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover Christmas cookies and chocolate. I used a simple recipe from a Swiss chef, Annemarie Wildeisen. The base crust, which is similar to a pie crust, is from my Tiptopf cookbook. (She is using a store bought dough)

 

Chocolate Squares

 

Base crust (Pie crust):

  • 150g flour
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 90g butter, cold
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg

-Mix together flour and salt. Add butter and with a fork or pastry blender mix until it resembles fine crumbs.

-Add whisked egg and mix dough only until it holds together. Wrap in plastic foil and chill for 30 minutes.

 

Filling:

  • 300g cookies, finely ground
  • 6 eggs
  • 175g sugar
  • 100g bittersweet chocolate or milk chocolate
  • 175g butter
  • 100g flour
  • 150g hazelnuts or almonds, ground

 

Chocolate Icing:

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 40g butter
  • 3tbsp icing sugar

 

-Whisk together eggs and sugar. In a double boiler melt together chocolate and butter, add to egg mix.

-Combine flour, nuts and cookie crumbs. Add slowly to wet ingredients.

-Roll out base crust to fit into a 30cm square or round pan.

-Cover with the filling. Bake in a 350F/180C oven for 40-50 minutes.

-In a double boiler melt dark chocolate, add butter. Sift the icing sugar and mix well. Spread onto the cooled cake.

-Cut into squares.

(You could spread some Strawberry jelly onto the cake first, and then add the chocolate icing)

Can be kept in refrigerator for 3-4 days

 

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Love, Peace and Happiness!!

 

Enjoy!