Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb Cake | Koekbook

We’ve had some excellent weather the past couple of weeks here in the Netherlands and the rhubarb in our garden is absolutely flourishing, as are the other crops and flowers. So, I thought it was about time I got some use out of it! I chose to bake a simple but delicious rhubarb cake. The cake batter is flavored with vanilla to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb. I recommend using vanilla paste or extract as vanilla pods are very expensive right now due to a very bad vanilla harvest and many other factors. I like to sprinkle on some extra sugar on top as well as some shaved almonds, but this is optional. You can also change it up with other nuts and flavors (for example a bit of almond extract or some chopped hazelnuts)!

Rhubarb Cake Recipe

Tools: 20x20cm cake tin

Ingredients:

200 grams rhubarb
130 grams caster sugar
130 grams softened butter
3 small eggs or 2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
130 grams flour
5 grams baking powder
a handful of shaved almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.

2. Grease and flour the cake tin.

3. To prepare the rhubarb, cut into even sized pieces and wash. Leave to dry in a colander or pat dry with a kitchen towel.

4. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until incorporated. Don’t overbeat!

5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and level it out with a spatula. Arrange the rhubarb on top, don’t push them into the batter too far. Sprinkle with some extra sugar and the shaved almonds if preferred.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool, then serve. This cake is especially tasty with chantilly cream or a dollop of custard!

 

Dutch Flag Whipped Cream Cake

Dutch Flag Whipped Cream Cake | Koekbook

This past Thursday it was our king’s birthday and since it was too cold to sell second-hand items on the market I decided I would celebrate by baking a fruity, creamy cake. The fruit on the top is arranged in such a way that it looks like the Dutch flag (red, white and blue) but of course, you can change it to your own flag if your country uses the same colors in its flag (or use different fruits).

Recipe Dutch Flag Whipped Cream Cake

Tools: 20cm springform cake tin, icing knife, mixer with whisk attachment, baking parchment, pastry bag fitted with 1M/star nozzle

Ingredients:

100 grams egg white
100 grams white sugar
zest of 1 orange
100 grams egg yolk
80 grams flour
20 grams cornstarch
750 ml whipping cream
25 grams whipping cream stabilizer (optional)
4 tablespoons sugar
250 grams fresh strawberries
150 grams fresh blueberries
100 grams strawberry jam
50 grams almond shavings
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment, grease the sides of the tin.
  2. Prepare a stainless steel or glass bowl and the whisk attachment(s) by rubbing it down with lemon juice or vinegar. This is to remove any remnants of grease. Then start whisking the egg whites at high speed. When the whites start to foam, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Then turn down to medium-low speed and add the orange zest. Whisk for another 2 minutes. Turn the mixer off and fold the egg yolks into the mixture. Don’t over stir! In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Sift into the egg mixture and fold in. Again, be careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared cake tin. If you see any clusters of flour while pouring, lightly stir them in with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (start checking at 20 minutes to be safe). When baked, immediately release from the tin and leave to stand on a wire rack with the baking parchment still on the bottom.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare your strawberries and whipped cream. Slice the strawberries up, set aside. For the whipped cream, add the sugar to the cream, start whisking at medium speed. While whisking, slowly add the stabilizer (if using). Whisk until you have a firm cream. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  4. When the cake has cooled completely, remove the baking parchment and place on a nice plate/cake stand. Cut in three parts horizontally. Cover one half with whipped cream, add strawberries and blueberries, making sure you have enough left for the top and sides when you’re done. Cover the berries with another layer of cream, then place the second layer of the cake on that. Cover the second layer of cake with the strawberry jam, place the top of the cake on top. Cover the whole cake in whipped cream, arrange strawberries and blueberries to make a Dutch flag. Then fill your pastry bag with star nozzle and pipe rosettes all around the edge of the cake. Place a strawberry and blueberry on each of the rosettes, alternating between berries. Stick the almond shavings to the sides of the cake. Enjoy!

Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing

Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing | Koekbook

Apparently, you can bake icing with the cookie! Yeah, I wasn’t aware of that either.. It adds a really nice extra texture to a cookie and it looks really great as well. I used a meringue icing on these tangy lemon cookies and boy, do they look delicate!

Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing | Koekbook

These cookies are absolutely perfect for a high tea spread, or as Easter is coming up: an Easter dessert table. They are super easy to make with children too!

Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing | Koekbook

Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing Recipe

Source: adapted from Sweet Dreams magazine 2, 2017

Yields: 24 cookies

Tools: 6cm fluted cookie cutter, baking tray, baking parchment, piping bag, small round nozzle

Ingredients:

200 grams softened butter
100 grams caster sugar
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
250 grams plain flour

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150 grams icing sugar
a couple of drops of pink food coloring (optional)
3 tablespoons crumbled dried raspberries

  1. Mix the butter, sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest together until combined. Add the flour and knead until a soft dough is formed. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Whip the 2 egg whites until you have a very stiff mixture. Fold in the baking powder, icing sugar and pink food coloring until combined.
  3. Roll out the dough to 4 mm thickness. Cut out fluted rounds with the cookie cutter, re-roll and cut as needed. Place rounds on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Fill a piping bag fit with a small round nozzle with the meringue mixture. Ice the cookies with this mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown.

 

Italian Focaccia

Italian Foccaccia | Koekbook

 

Focaccia is a really easy bread to bake, so good to start with if you’ve never attempted it before. This particular dough is soft, stretchy and will result in a super fluffy bread. You need strong white bread flour and semolina flour. Semolina flour is used to make pasta but also goes very well in bread. It has a high protein content so will create great gluten development. This bread goes great with some hearty soup and also does well at parties with some olive oil to dip in. You can choose whatever topping you like, I’ve also seen yummy focaccias with mozzarella, onions and parmesan. Enjoy!

Italian Foccaccia | Koekbook

Italian Focaccia Recipe

Source: adapted from Levine van Doorne’s “Meer Brood Uit Eigen Oven

Yields 1 13×9 inch focaccia

Ingredients:

300 grams strong white bread flour
150 grams semolina flour
300 grams water 20-25 C
45 grams olive oil
4,5 grams instant yeast
8 grams salt

Topping:

150 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
dried or fresh mixed Italian herbs
fine sea salt
more olive oil

  1. Combine flours, water, olive oil, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Make sure the yeast and salt don’t touch directly. Knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  2. Prepare a 13×9 inch baking tray by greasing it with olive oil and lining it with baking parchment. Shape the dough into a ball using oiled hands and place in the baking tray. Cover with greased clingfilm. Leave to proof for 45-60 minutes.
  3. When proofed for the first time, cover the whole bottom of the baking tray with the dough. Push the dough out into every nook and cranny with oiled hands. Cover with greased clingfilm and proof for 20 minutes.
  4. When proofed for the second time, use oiled fingers to create dimples in the dough. Push the cherry tomatoes into the dough skin side down. Sprinkle with herbs, sea salt and lastly with some olive oil. Cover with greased clingfilm and proof another 30 minutes.
  5. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C.
  6. Once the dough has done proofing the third time place the baking tray in the oven and bake the focaccia for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Take out of the oven, leave in the tray for 5 minutes, then lift it out with the baking parchment and place on a wire rack to cool. It’s best eaten fresh but you can freeze the bread easily in a paper bag.

 

French Madeleines (Paul Hollywood)

French Madeleines (Paul Hollywood) | Koekbook

 

Last weekend, I got to experience one of the coolest things ever in my life: I went to a 1 Michelin Star restaurant! Nadine and I had participated in a Christmas bread competition in November and Nadine won first place. Part of her prize was a dinner for two at “Sense” restaurant in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and I was lucky enough to be invited along. We made a whole weekend out of it where we slept in a yoga-themed B&B (with awesome breakfast, yoga and bathroom – see my Instagram). It was quite cold and rainy so we also did a bit of shopping. While we were roaming around it turned out the sole of my shoe was broken so I had to buy new ones right away (wet socks anyone?). I also scored some cheap books at a local bookstore (being the bookworm that I am..I scored Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Froer for €5 and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler for €4).

Anyhow, the restaurant was absolutely amazing, although I felt a bit uncomfortable every now and then because it was all very fancy. The food was scrum-diddly-dum-ptious. I have never had a meal so tasty! Everything was extremely well thought out when it came to textures and flavor and just. wow. They had a dumpling that blew my mind. And we had 9 courses in total which was absolutely insane. I’ll scratch it off my bucket list and it’ll go on my list of best things I have ever experienced in my life!

All of the dainty food inspired some dainty baking, therefore I baked these madeleines. They should have “bellies” on the plain side but only one turned out that way for me – they were still delicious. It’s a simple recipe that’s do-able for everyone with a madeleine tin! Dig in!

French Madeleines (Paul Hollywood) | Koekbook

Recipe French Madeleines 

Source: The Weekend Baker by Paul Hollywood

Tools: Madeleine tin

Yields: 20-24 madeleines

Ingredients:

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Leave it on low heat until brown flecks start to appear. Take it off the heat, leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and dust the madeleine tin(s) with flour.
  3. Mix the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very fluffy and light. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda onto the egg mixture and carefully fold it in. Then add the cooled butter and carefully mix it in. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Fill the each madeleine mould in the tin 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Pop them out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar. Best eaten on the day of baking.

 

Mandarin Speculaas Cheesecake

Mandarin Speculaas Cheesecake | Koekbook

I know, Sinterklaas has been over and we have to wait another 11 months for the ancient bearded man to arrive again..but while it’s still icy cold and time for a cuppa hot cocoa, I’ll keep dipping those speculaas. I have found speculaas to be an excellent dipping agent 😉

Of course, a perfect pairing for speculaas is mandarin, so I have incorporated mandarin marmalade in this cheesecake for extra pozzezz and tanginess. I have included a recipe for mandarin marmalade below if you can’t find it in your supermarket! It’s easy to make and tastes great on toast with some butter as well…

 

Mandarin Speculaas Cheesecake | Koekbook

Mandarin and Speculaas Cheesecake

First published in Dutch the Magazine, november/december 2016 issue.

7 oz. speculaas cookies

⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted

3 cups full-fat cream cheese

¾ cup caster sugar

3 ½ tablespoon flour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mandarin marmalade*

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 265F. Grease and flour a 9.5 inch springform baking tin, cover the base with baking parchment.
  2. Crush the speculaas cookies into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and toss until everything is evenly moistened. Transfer the crumbs to the tin and press evenly into the bottom (use a spoon if necessary). Leave to firm up in the fridge.
  3. To make the filling, add cream cheese, sugar, flour and eggs to a bowl and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.
  4. Pour filling into baking tin. Drop in tablespoons of the marmalade, make sure you divide it evenly so that every slice of cheesecake has roughly the same amount of marmalade in it. Place in the oven, bake for about 1 to 1,5 hours. The middle of the cheesecake should still be wobbly. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then transfer to the fridge and leave to set for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).

* Mandarin Marmalade

6 mandarins

1 ½ cup sugar

  1. Simmer the mandarins in plenty of water for 45 minutes.
  2. Quarter and deseed the cooled mandarins and chop them in a food processor fit with a blade attachment.
  3. In a sauce pan, mix the sugar and chopped mandarins and simmer for 35 minutes. Leave to cool and scoop into a jam jar. Store in the fridge.

Snowy Topped Brownie Drops (12 Days of Christmas Cookies #7)

Snowy Topped Brownie Drops | Koekbook

I recently purchased Dorie Greenspan’s book “Cookies” and oh my, is it chock-full of the most amazing cookie recipes… I had no idea where to start! Since Christmas is coming up and the promise of snow is in the air (a promise that hardly gets fulfilled where I live), I thought I might go with a snowy theme. These brownie cookies fit perfectly into that: they’re topped with snow 😉

Snowy Topped Brownie Drops | Koekbook

They’re soft and chewy and a little gooey with lovely chocolate chunks throughout. I would say it’s one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, even though they might not officially (schmofficially) be cookies. The dough needs plenty of time for chilling so make sure you start well ahead. Christmas is all about planning anyway, right? Have fun with these!

 

Snowy Topped Brownie Drops | Koekbook

Recipe Snowy Topped Brownie Drops

Source: Dorie Greenspan – Cookies

Ingredients:

71 grams unsalted butter
225 grams dark chocolate
150 grams sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 grams plain flour
for dredging: icing sugar
  1. Heat 170 grams of the chocolate and the butter together au-bain-marie until they have melted. Set aside. Chop the rest of the chocolate into fine chunks and set aside.
  2. Mix the sugar with the chocolate-butter mixture. Add the eggs one by one, whisking well. Then whisk in the vanilla extract and salt. Carefully fold in the flour and chopped chocolate. Transfer dough into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to chill for at least 3 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment (don’t use a silpat mat, the cookies will stick to it!).
  4. Weigh out 30 gram pieces of the dough. Roll the pieces into balls. Dredge them through icing sugar. Place 10 dough balls on each baking tray. Make sure they have plenty of space to spread out. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the baking tray and bake another 6 minutes. Take tray out of the oven, leave cookies on the tray for about 2 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely. These cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches!

Decorated Pumpkin Pie

Decorated Pumpkin Pie | Koekbook

5 years ago I made my last pumpkin pie – it was awful. I wasn’t a very good baker yet back then, and the pastry was too thick, the filling too clove-y. I decided to try again after seeing my friend Nadine’s decorated pie (she really has the best ideas!!). Alright, it still took me about 4 years to get around to it but yeah.. I did it 😉 And oh my – this is the best pie I have EVER had! I am not overstating the deliciousness of this pie. It is the. absolute. best.Decorated Pumpkin Pie | Koekbook

The recipe is from a book called Ms. American Pie, written by the lady who lives in the American Gothic house. The book, apart from being filled to the brim with delicious pie recipes, chronicles how the writer’s husband passed away and how she found solace in baking pies afterwards. It is a touching story and I love how baking can help people get through difficult periods in their life – it’s the same for me!

I’m not quite sure, but the filling recipe might be taken off of the “Libby’s” pumpkin puree can – we don’t have Libby’s here but the recipe hinted at it. I do know that Libby’s pumpkin puree is a staple item in America around Thanksgiving – can any Americans attest to that? I made my own pumpkin puree for this pie by simple boiling some diced butternut squash until it had softened and then blitzing it to puree. It worked amazingly well!Decorated Pumpkin Pie | Koekbook

To make your pumpkin pie extra special, you can go with the decoration as Nadine has thought up: pipe on dark chocolate to make a pumpkin and gorgeous swirls and for an extra touch add some pumpkin seeds. It’ll make an otherwise “boring” pie that much more exciting!Decorated Pumpkin Pie | Koekbook

 

Recipe Decorated Pumpkin Pie

Source: Ms. American Pie

Dough:

120 grams cold, diced butter
165 grams pastry flour
pinch of salt
120 ml ice water

Filling:

150 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
425 grams pumpkin puree
340 grams condensed milk

Topping:

50 grams dark chocolate
some pumpkin seeds
  1. To make the dough: blitz butter, flour and salt together in the bowl of a kitchen processor with a blade attachment until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add half of the water, blitz again, if necessary add more of the water until the dough is moistened. Wrap into cling film and chill for about an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/430F.
  3. Mix all of the filling ingredients together until combined.
  4. Line a pie tin with the dough. If possible, crimp the edges. Add the filling.
  5. Carefully place the pie in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 220C/430F, then turn oven down to 170C/340F and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the middle of the pie comes out relatively clean. The filling will rise in the oven, it will come down again when cooled.
  6. Leave pie to cool on a wire rack. Melt the chocolate au-bain-marie. Fit a piping bag with a small round tip. Fill bag with the melted chocolate. Pipe on a nice design. Add some pumpkin seeds. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Pear Frangipane Tart

I am writing this while an autumn storm is raging outside. I have to say, I like autumn a lot more than I do summer – no sticky clothes, sore thighs from wearing shorts that are just a little too short and those pesky insects. Just crisp autumn air, gorgeous natural colors and knitted jumpers. And: A LOT OF BAKING.

With loads of tasty autumn fruits around it’s difficult resisting the urge to bake every day. For this tart, I used fresh, ripe, juicy pears paired with a lovely frangipane. So good with a steaming cup of tea!

If you want, you can add a little cinnamon to the frangipane. My mother hates cinnamon (I know, it’s a travesty!) so I didn’t add any myself, but I can imagine the urge to add some. I always applaud creativity! 🙂

 

Pear Frangipane Tart Recipe

Source: Pâte Sucrée and Frangipane recipes from Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake

Tools: 23cm (loose bottomed) tart tin

Ingredients:

Pâte Sucrée:

165 grams pastry flour
25 grams ground almonds
120 grams cold butter, diced
55 grams caster sugar
1 egg

Frangipane + Filling:

100 grams softened butter
45 grams caster sugar
2 large eggs
75 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 small ripe pears
25 grams almond shavings
  1. To prepare the pastry: combine flours and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Add butter, blitz until you have a crumbly mixture. Add egg and blitz until the dough starts to come together. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm. Leave to chill for at least an hour.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F.
  3. For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar for abut 3 minutes. Add the eggs and a tablespoon of the flour and mix for another 2 minutes. Add the rest of the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and almond extract and mix another 2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Grease and flour the tart tin. Roll the pastry out to a large enough circle to fit the tin (not too thick). Pipe or spread the frangipane into the pastry case. Peel pears, halve them and remove the center. Push the pear halves into the frangipane. Sprinkle with the almond shavings.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the tart is a nice golden brown. Remove from tart tin and slide onto a wire rack to cool down. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies (Hummingbird Bakery)

 

Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies (Hummingbird Bakery) | Koekbook

My grandmother sadly passed away a few weeks ago, so we had to clean out her house. I found some really lovely cups and saucers in her things which would have gone to goodwill had I not saved them! They’re so cute and classy, my grandma had great aestethic apparently!Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies (Hummingbird Bakery)

I felt like making some comfort food, so that’s where these pecan and white chocolate cookies came in. I love Hummingbird Bakery recipes, so I thumbed through their classic cookbook and chose these (quite humongous) cookies to bake on a rainy Sunday afternoon. They’re really easy to make and great for sharing. They also do really well as dunking cookies.. Keep your milk at a ready!

Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies (Hummingbird Bakery)

 

Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies (Hummingbird Bakery)

Source: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Ingredients (for 24 cookies):

250 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
100 grams caster sugar
200 grams soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams white chocolate, chopped
100 grams chopped pecans
  1. Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs one at the time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl in between eggs. Beat the vanilla extract into the mixture.
  2. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and beat until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate and pecans until evenly dispersed.
  3. Divide the dough in two halves and shape each half into a roll of 18 cm in length. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the freezer for about two hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F.
  5. Remove the clingfilm and cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2-3 in thickness). Place on a baking tray 6 at a time lined with baking parchment and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly on the baking tray, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!