Purely by accident, while making gingerbread cookies with a 6 year old boy I decided on a whim to save some of the dough. I simply knew something would pop up but I newer anticipated that it would become such a delight. It took me few days to play with the idea and ricotta was there from day one as a main base for the filling. Then I realised that chocolate can never fail you (of course if you are a chocolate lover) and a gingerbread base seemed to be a good choice for this combination.
I baked the base a few days before I decided on a filling. Being a gingerbread dough that actually helped and it just improved the cake’s richness altogether. Plus the stress of making a whole cake in one day practically disappeared. Both base and filling are easy to make and you need just minutes to do it. I would’ve said that this is a winning combination if I didn’t known better. Since I do, I would say – this is a life time keeper!
It was just one of those lazy days when you can’t make your self do more than go for a walk. We agreed to do just that and nothing else. So how did I find myself baking on a day like this? No answer there! I just simply found myself in the kitchen and between the dust of flour, a tablespoon of honey, a cup of buttermilk and olive oil…..maybe some walnuts(?) – 40 minutes later the cake was baked!
The cake looked divine, and needed just to be topped with something. Honey?, spices..? Yes, why not… But for some reason I doubted myself. I thought the cake might be too dry or crumbly, not sweet enough…”Mum are you baking a cake?” – (a little voice from the other room). “Can I help? Oh it’s done already”…”Can I have a piece please?” “Maybe after lunch” was my reply. That was the quickest lunch ever I can tell you that now. “So can I have the cake now?
Next scene: Me, nervously standing in the kitchen not willing even to peak into the dining room and him, happily engaged with the piece of cake and then I heard! “Yum! This is a yummy cake.” He said that mostly to himself, as I could hardly hear him but nonetheless, that turned my head around. All my doubts disappeared instantly.
Awakening – Anthony de Mello, were my first thoughts this morning. I reached for the book on my shelf, read so many times and yet needed to be read one more time. This simple and nourishing book is needed occasionally to awaken me. That would be the simple but honest reason. The other might be a sleepless night, blurred thoughts and the need for (besides a strong coffee) a straight and fast quality in my life.
The interesting part of this story though, is that just a few shelves away from my brain cell stimulating books, I keep my other nourishing books (or at last some of them, because honestly they are all around the house, refusing to find one place to stay). I am talking about ones with all the magic ingredients for a sweet life, the ones that give you instant relief amongst all the answers. And the right answer always is – indulge yourself! (because we are a selfish species anyway – a very rough description of much deeper thoughts of the above mentioned wise person). Continue reading
Special occasions call for a special cake. This is that kind of cake.
I baked it first time at my parents house for the family gathering and all I can say is that was very well excepted and gone so fast that I didn’t have a chance to taste it. Naturally I had to make it again and then again and again…to shorten the long story since then it’s in my recipe book and just occasionally will go through a makeover but with the same ingredients, would not dare to change anything there.
The only problem that we have with this cake is that tastes even better after day or two sitting in the fridge. At the same time this is one of the cakes that will make you sneak out during the night and stole a peace from the fridge, hoping no one will notice. See the problem?
It was a gloomy day. The sun was hiding behind clouds like it was never going to appear again. Occasionally a few drops of rain would make their way through the greyness. We were all having a lazy day, not willing to leave the house. In my case that almost always means, extra baking. To have nutritious food, to lift the spirit, to make the day more productive, to have fun with my son who is always hungry when it comes to food, fun and knowledge. Many, many good reasons. When you add to that a newly bought baking dish and mix it with buckwheat flour, add a few walnuts and the sweetest grapes ever, you get this delight in the shape of a cake.
The history of this cake is rather boring, or on the other hand, perhaps interesting. Why? Because I have never followed the actual recipe but it was quite often an inspiration for something else that was worth keeping forever. One of my best friends gave me an easy to make Pound cake – her grandmothers recipe – that could go nicely with some melted chocolate or some berries, nuts or poppy seeds. The list is infinite, well it is for me because this simple recipe opened the door to endless possibilities. Why stop just with changing fillings, why not go further.
In this cake, plain flour has been replaced with buckwheat flour (always available in my pantry). It felt like some walnuts couldn’t do any harm, chocolate sprinkles that simply had to be used with buckwheat flour and of course, the grapes. So sweet, so juicy and something that so nicely balanced the whole cake.
This cake is wonderfully gorgeous in its simplicity. Sweet mostly from the grapes. The nutty flavour from the buckwheat flour and walnuts – is always a winning combination for me. I can say with confidence that this cake has many good years ahead in our home, for sure. Continue reading