17 October 2014

Lemony Speculoos Cheesecake

On Wednesday I went to a supermarket and wondered that they’ve already started to sell Speculoos cookies. Speculoos cookies are a pretty Christmassy thing but it’s still a while until Christmas… Nevertheless, since the moment I saw them I wanted to eat them even if it’s not THAT time of the year. Then, yesterday I was craving something sweet and homemade and remembered a recipe with Spekulatius cookies. I found it years ago at JamieOliver ‘s homepage, posted by Allora Andiamo. I just changed her recipe a bit. 
This morning after the cake's beauty sleep I ate 2 pieces of it at once and I could eat even more. It’s so lovely!

For a 6-inch round cake tin


Speculoos base:
  • 116g Speculoos biscuits, finely crushed
  • 50g butter, melted

  • 290g cream cheese
  • 105ml double cream
  • 87g quark cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large organic lemon
  • 5 gelatin leaves

Lemon topping:
  • 1 egg
  • 46g icing sugar
  • 46g of butter, cut into small cubes
  • Juice + finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 1 tbsp of double (thick) cream


Before you start bring all the ingredients to room temprature.

Fort he base, mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter then gently press into the tin. Put in the fridge. 

Soak the gelatin leaves for 10 minutes in ice-cold water. 
In a small saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of the lemon juice you’ll use for the filling and warm on a very low heat. Add the gelatin leaves and mix well until they’re dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest and (remaining) lemon juice, until the sugar has melted. Add the cream cheese, double cream and quark and continue whisking for about 1 minute. The cream should be nice and fluffy. 
Pour the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and allow to set for 2 hours before making the topping.
Make the lemon topping. Place the egg, butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan. Cook over a low heat for approx. 10 minutes whisking the whole time. Once the sauce has thickened remove from the heat then whisk in one tablespoon of double cream.
Leave the sauce to cool completely then spread over the cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight.

12 October 2014

Ivi's Pumpkin Cake

My better half loves this pumpkin pie the most. Last time I made it was autumn 2012 - sorry for keeping you waiting, my dear! ♡

For a 20 cm cake tin

  • 120 ml vegetable oil + extra for greasing
  • 445 grams of grated pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 130 grams sugar
  • 10 grams vanilla sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 90 grams walnuts + 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 295 grams flour
  • 10 grams baking powder
  • icing sugar for dusting


Wash the pumpkin, cut into quarters and deseed it with a spoon. Grate the pumpkin quarters with the skin on.

Separate egg yolks and egg whites.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, cinnamon and the oil together. Stir in the grated pumpkin. Set aside to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease a deep 20 cm cake tin with vegetable oil. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.

Finely ground the walnuts with 1 tbsp icing sugar in a food processor. Mix the ground walnuts with the flour and baking powder and gradually add it to the pumpkin-batter.
Beat the egg whites to a firm peak stage, then fold them in 3 steps into the batter.

Transfer the batter to the cake tin and spread it evenly. Bake in the oven for approx. 1 hour, but prick it to check if it’s really done before you remove it from the oven. 
Leave to cook in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove it from the tin and leave to cool completely.

Finally dust the cake with icing sugar. Cut and enjoy!

18 September 2014

Choco Pudding Strawberry Cake チョコプリンと苺ケーキ

The strawberry season is over, I know, but anyway - this cake is great!

For a 24 cm quiche tin

cake base
  • 100 grams of dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 15 grams vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 grams flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. Separate egg yolks and egg whites.
Beat the egg whites with 2 tbsp of ice cold water and a pinch of salt until it reaches a firm peak stage, gradually adding the vanilla sugar to it while beating (or, if you use vanilla bean paste, you can add it to the egg whites before you start beating them). Gently fold the egg yolks into the whipped egg whites.
Mix flour and baking powder and sieve them (!). Fold the sieved flour into the batter in 3 steps.
Grease a quiche tin with butter and sprinkle it with bread crumbs. Transfer your batter to the quiche tin and spread it evenly with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely while making the chocolate custard cream.

chocolate custard cream
  • 125 ml whole milk (full fat)
  • 1 ½ egg yolk
  • 13 grams flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar (if you use soy milk, then skip it!)
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 70 to 100 grams chocolate with 60 to 70% cocoa solids (depends on how rich you want the chocolate flavour to be), finely chopped
Pour milk into a pot, deseed your vanilla pod and add them with the vanilla pod to the milk. Heat the vanilla-milk until it almost reaches the fever pitch, then remove from heat. Mix egg yolks, sugar and flour (sieved!) together until smooth. Using a whisk, pour the milk gradually into the egg-mixture, stirring all the time.
Pass the mixture through a sieve back into the pot. Heat the pot again, stirring all the time until it thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in the chopped chocolate until completely dissolved (shouldn’t take long time).
Leave to cool slightly, then spread it evenly over your cake base. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

glazed strawberries
  • Approx. 800 grams strawberries
  • 250 ml strawberry juice, sieved
  • 3 grams leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
Heat the strawberry juice over a low heat, but do not cook! Then stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Now leave to cool slightly, but not too long or it will get firm.
Slice each strawberry into 4 halves, dip them into the glaze and then arrange the strawberries the way you like. :D If you don’t like my way, just browse the internet for some inspiration!

15 July 2014

Fruit Cake with Lemon and Almonds

This is a cake recipe I use very often because I just love the cake’s moist (and slightly sandy) texture, lemony smell and sizzling flavour. You can use any fruit you like for the top; I tried it until now with blueberries, raspberries, apricots, cherries – and the last time with blackberries.

If you ask me, the cake needs some fruit that’s slightly sour, but go ahead, try the recipe with any fruit of your choice and form your own opinion.

Here comes the recipe for a 20 x 25 cm square tin:

  • 75 grams of blanched almonds 
  • 75 grams of icing sugar 
  • 125 grams flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 150 grams of butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • zest and juice of 1 (small) lemon 
  • 2 eggs 
  • plenty of fruits of your choice 


First, melt the butter on a low heat and leave to cool slightly.

Finely ground the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor until very fine (pulse for approx. 1 minute). The sugar prevents the almonds from turning into mousse.

Mix the ground almonds with flour and baking powder.

Add vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest to the melted butter and mix well. Now pour the butter-mixture into the flour-mixture and stir until it comes together. Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir until everything is well combined.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (hot air oven / convection oven works best!).

Line your tin with parchment paper and pour the cake mixture into it. Spread it evenly by shaking the tin back and forth.

Now sprinkle LOTS of your favourite fruits all over the cake mixture.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Don’t bake too long or else it will become dry.

Remove from the oven and let it sit for some time. Cut it into squares and serve with some icing sugar dusted on top.

Recipe is inspired by Caroline Bretherton's Allotment Cookbook through the year.

21 May 2014


This is the first recipe for a tarte that I ever used. I baked the tarte at a friend's apartment that I took care of while she was gone on holiday. I ate it with some vanilla ice cream and it was so good! 

I found the recipe on It was posted by lovely Allora Andiamo years ago and now I can't find it anymore on the website, but I saved it back then, fortunately. 

I just love this tarte. It looks so beautiful with the almond slivers like fallen petals on it, plus it's very delicious and full of summer! Give it a try - you won't regret it! ♡


For the pastry:

  • 300g plain flour 
  • 140g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • Some ice cold water, approx. 5-6 tbsps (see instructions)

For the Filling:

  • 350g fresh blueberries
  • 200g fresh strawberries, sliced into 1/4's
  • approx. 1 heaped tsp of finely grated orange zest
  • seeds of 1 small vanilla pod 

To finish:

  • 1 small egg
  • approx. 2 tbsps of almond slivers for sprinkling 



Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the cold butter and salt.Rub the mixture between your fingers till it resembles breadcrumbs then add the vanilla sugar and the egg yolk. Start adding the water, a little bit at a time, and knead the mixture very gently till the pastry binds together and the edges of the bowl are clean. Don't overmix the pastry otherwise it willll turn out tough once baked. Wrap in some clingfilm and place in the fridge for approx. 30 mins before rolling.

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 20cm tart tin with a little bit of butter. 
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, approx. 4-5mm thick. Lay the pastry in your tart tin and trim to size, reserving the left over pastry. Prick it with a fork, line with parchment paper and pour your baking beans over it. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, remove from the oven and remove baking beans and parchment paper. Allow to cool.


In a medium sized bowl, combine the fruits, sugar, orange zest and vanilla then pour into the case.Re-roll leftover pastry and cut into 1.5cm strips. To make a simple lattice topping, place some strips running in one direction (vertically) and top them with the rest of the strips (horizontally). Whisk the egg and brush the pastry with the mixture. Sprinkle with the almond slivers.Bake at 180 degrees for approx. 35-40 mins, until golden. Leave to cool.

Serve with some vanilla ice cream! :D

14 May 2014

Lemon Tarte with Meringue

Lemon tarte with meringue is my no. 1! But it was not love at first sight. I mean, come on.. lemons! They are tasty, of course, but sour. And I’ve got a sweet tooth, definitely! I was sure we would never make a good match.
But then fate took its course. My relationship with lemon tartes started some years ago, when I entered a coffee house in Vienna and desperately wanted to eat cake. I did not have much money with me, so I had to take what I could afford and that was one cup of coffee and a piece of lemon tarte. You can imagine the rest.
Lemon tarte is not cheap when shop-bought, so I thought why not making my own. I was pretty nervous because of the grilled meringue, but it turned out so well and I could eat so much of it without spending much money. Besides, baking the tarte fills the whole flat with a sweet lemon aroma. Nice side-effect!

Here’s my recipe for a home-made version. I never add too much sugar to my sweets, so if you want it sweeter, then feel free to alter the recipe the way you like it. You just need to add more sugar to the pastry and the lemon filling.

Sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 125 grams of butter at room temperature 
  • 70 grams caster sugar, sieved 
  • 50 grams ground almonds 
  • 250 grams flour, sieved 
  • 1 egg (50 grams) at room temperature

Beat butter, sugar and ground almonds and gradually add the sieved flour until well combined. Add the egg and knead until well combined (if the dough is too firm, add some splashes of water). Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for about 1 hour (or until needed).

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out. Lay your tarte tin with it, prick it with a fork, line with parchment paper and pour your baking beans over it. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, remove from the oven and remove baking beans and parchment paper.

Lemon filling
  • 3 lemons
  • 100 grams of butter at room temperature 
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 15 grams of corn starch
  • 3 eggs at room temperature

Zest one of your lemons and squeeze the juice of all 3 lemons. Melt butter and honey in a saucepan on a low heat, then add the lemon zest and juice to it and let it cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the 3 eggs with the corn starch and add to the butter-lemon-mixture. Mix well until smooth.

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. Spread the lemon-mixture over the baked tarte and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

  • 25 grams of caster sugar (or icing sugar), sieved
  • 3 egg whites

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then start to add the sugar gradually. Whisk until stiff.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (grill option).
Fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe big dots on the surface of the tarte, so that they cover the surface of the tarte completely. Grill in the oven for about 1-2 minutes (or longer) until slightly coloured.

5 April 2014

Germknödel (austrian sweet yeast dumplings filled with plum stew)

I love Austrian sweets - I grew up with them, so how could I not love them? - and once in a while I really crave „Germknödel“. They’re so delicious!
I guess, because they are served warm, they are meant to be for the cold times of the year, but however, I can even eat them in the burning heat of summer.
I love their soft dough with all those flavours and the warm Powidl inside. When I was little, I had holidays during the plum-harvest and I remember my nana cooking Powidl the whole day. So, if you make these, then try to get real Powidl because Powidl is NOT plum jam! Powidl is made of plums, but unlike jam it’s a stew without additional sugar or gelling agents. Of course, you can substitute Powidl with plum jam, but then you won’t get the authentic flavour.

The dumplings are not difficult to make, so here is my recipe! :D

Ingredients (makes approx. 8 dumplings)
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • half a sachet of active dry yeast (about 3,5 grams)
  • 200 grams flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 25 grams butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 grams plum stew (Powidl)
  • 20 grams melted butter
  • 50 grams of ground poppy seeds
  • icing sugar
  • rum, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt for the cooking water


Heat the milk with the sugar on a low heat until it’s warm, but not hot. Remove from heat and stir in the yeast with a fork. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Sieve the flour in a bowl and pour the milk-yeast-mixture into it. Start to beat with either a hand mixer or in the food processor with a paddle attachment on a low speed, then add the egg yolk, butter and a pinch of salt. Beat until it forms a dough - the dough should be firm. Let it rest in a warm place for about half an hour.

Divide the dough into 8 portions. With your hand, shape the dough into tight balls and roll them out palm-sized with a rolling pin. Put one tsp of plum jam in the middle of each dough. Pull and fold the sides over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal.  
Place the dumplings upside-down on a floured surface, cover them with a kitchen towel and leave to rest in a warm surrounding until doubled in size – for about half an hour.

Fill a large pot with water. Add a strong dash of rum, approx. 2 tbsp of sugar, a pinch of salt and cinnamon to it and bring to boil. Reduce the heat so that the water doesn’t bubble away and add the dumplings. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then turn them over and prick each dumpling 4-5 times with a needle. Cover again and let them cook further 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the dumplings from the water, place them immediately on a plate and pour melted butter over them. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and icing sugar according to taste and serve.


9 February 2014

Death by Chocolate

I spent the weekend watching Lord of the Rings. After I had watched the second Hobbit-movie “The Desolation of Smaug”, I really wanted to know the whole story of LOTR. I became a big fan of Legolas, although I do not like Orlando Bloom. Aragorn is pretty cool. But if I had to be one character, it would be Gimli due to height and character.
The story of “middle earth” is pretty complex, like the cake that we made this weekend. Recipe is inspired by by French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. We call the cake “death by chocolate” – a must for you if you’re a chocoholic, in a depressive or sad mood or just feel hoggish. :D
I prepared some of the “layers” one day ahead to save time, which I recommend.

Recipe is for a 13 cm cake tin


Prepare one day ahead
  • 30 grams butter at room temperature
  • 25 grams sugar
  • 15 grams flour
  • ¼ egg white

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Sieve the flour into the mixture and add a pinch of salt. Stir well until smooth. Finally add the egg white and mix well. Spread it on parchment paper as thin as possible and bake in the oven at 200°C for about 5 minutes. Cool completely, then break it to crumbs.

chocolate disk
  • 20 grams couverture with 40% cocoa solids + 5 grams couverture with 60% cocoa solids
Melt the couverture over a bain-marie. Line your cake tin with cling film and pour in the melted chocolate evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until you need it. 

chocolate cream
  • 140 ml cream
  • 80 grams couverture with 40% cocoa solids + 15 grams couverture with 60% cocoa solids
Heat the cream until it starts to steam (do not bring to boil!) and pour gradually into the couverture. Mix well until the couverture melts completely. Cool at room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

On the next day

Recommendation: Roast 135 grams of hazelnuts in a pan and rub off the skin with a towel. That’s the whole amount of hazelnuts that you will need for the following steps. So you save time.
2 hazelnut bases
  • 75 grams icing sugar, sieved
  • 70 grams ground hazelnuts
  • 75 grams egg white
  • 15 grams whole hazelnuts
Roast 40 grams of hazelnuts in a pan and rub off the skin with a towel. Blend them in a food processor with a pinch of salt until finely ground (pulse 2 to 3 times, that’s enough I think).
Preheat the oven to 170° degrees. On parchment paper, draw two circles with the same diameter like your cake tin has.
Mix icing sugar and ground hazelnuts. Beat the egg white up (not too stiff!) and fold it gradually into the sugar-hazelnuts-mixture. Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe a spiral of batter onto your drawn circle, following the circle and pipe spiraling inward to fill the circle.
Ground the 15g of hazelnuts and sprinkle them over the batter. Bake in the oven with the oven door slightly opened for about 25 minutes. Let them cool completely!
  • 25 grams cream
  • 20 grams couverture 40% + 10 grams couverture 60%
Heat the cream and gradually mix into the couverture, until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

nougat filling
  • 8 grams butter
  • 20 grams couverture 40%
  • 30 grams hazelnut nougat (for example, Nutella)
  • 40 grams hazelnut paste*
  • 40 grams brittle (keep the rest for decoration!)
  • 10 grams roasted hazelnuts, grounded
*hazelnut paste:
Roast 40grams of hazelnuts in a pan and rub off the skin. Put them in the food processor and ground it with 1 tsp vanilla sugar until you get a fine paste.

Melt butter, couverture and hazelnut nougat over a bain-marie. Add the hazelnut paste, the brittle and the roasted hazelnuts and let it cool to room temperature.
cake’s composition
Use your cake tin (or alternatively a cake ring) and line it with parchment paper. Assemble the single layers of the cake in this order:
  1. put one hazelnut-layer in the form
  2. on the hazelnut-layer, spread the nougat filling evenly
  3. take your chocolate disk and brush it with the chocolate ganache on both sides, then put the disk into the tin
  4. beat the chocolate cream and pour half of it over the chocolate disk, spread it evenly
  5. put the second hazelnut-layer over it (with the top looking down)
  6. spread the second half fo the chocolate cream over it evenly
Refrigerate the assembled cake for 5 hours, before glazing and decorating it sideways with the rest of the brittle.

For my glaze, I just melted couverture (60 % cocoa solids) and butter over a bain-marie, let it cool and then spread it over the cake. You can also use a bought cake glaze, like one from Dr. Oetker. 

You’ll find the recipe on the blog of cook-poet Eva. My version is a bit different.

2 January 2014

Chocolate Amaretto Cookies

Hello my dear readers,

A Happy New Year // Ein frohes neues Jahr! //明けましておめでとう!
I hope it will be a good year for you all, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. <3

I got some pretty cool and lovely presents for Christmas, which is: Three recipe books that I longed to call mine!!!

I want to show you the first recipe that I chose to bake among so many not less tempting others in my new books. It’s a recipe for little cookies with a subtle amaretto-taste. They are so easy to make and even faster gone! ;3

ingredients (makes approx. 25- 30 cookies)
  • 80 grams flour, sieved
  • 25 grams cocoa
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 40 grams sugar
  • 25 grams cold butter, cubed
  • 10 ml Amaretto
  • 1 egg
  • some icing sugar to coat

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined. Then sieve it. Add the cubed butter and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour-mixture until its consistency reminds you of fine sand.
Mix the egg and amaretto together and add to the sandy mixture. Mix it with your hands then switch to a greater. The dough will be very sticky! Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refridgerate for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the icing sugar. Line your baking tray with parchment paper.
Wet your hands a little bit with cold water. With a teaspoon scoop out some dough and form it to little balls. Toss in the icing sugar and coat them completely and put them on the baking tray. 
Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool completely.

Source "The Hummingbird Bakery: Home Sweet Home", Harper Collins Publ. UK (2013)