Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 2014 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Dutch Sweet Bread (Peperkoek Cake)

For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread.

This challenge was perfect for the Christmas season, as it was very quick and simple to complete. The recipe calls for a gingerbread spice mixture which makes the house smell amazing when the bread is in the oven. The bread is delicious by itself, but is especially good when slathered with butter.

Peperkoek Cake
Makes 1 loaf

1 large egg
1 tablespoon cane sugar syrup
1 cup, less 2 tablespoons, lukewarm water
1 tablespoon gingerbread spice mixture (see below)
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

Gingerbread spice mixture:
6 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground mace

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line loaf pan with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together egg, cane sugar syrup, water, spice mixture, and brown sugar in a large bowl until dissolved.

3. Stir in flour and baking powder with a wooden spoon until well combined. There may be some small lumps remaining.

4. Pour batter into lined loaf pan and bake for about 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan to continue cooling. 

-Posted by Jennifer

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

September 2014 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Moravian Kolaches

I may be posting this challenge a little late, but it was too good not to share! The September Daring Bakers' Challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat-Kolaches!

I had never heard of Kolaches before this challenge, but they were delicious and reminded me a lot of danishes. In fact, I ate four of these before they even finished cooling from the oven! The dough was rich and buttery, and the pastries were perfect for either breakfast or dessert. The traditional filling given for this challenge was quark and plum jam. I substituted cream cheese and cherry preserves, and the combination was fabulous. This is definitely a recipe I will be making again soon!

Rolling out the Kolache dough.

Filling with cream cheese mixture.

Adding cherry preserves to center of pastry.

Bake and enjoy!

Moravian Kolaches with Cream Cheese and Cherry Filling
Makes about 30 small kolaches

3 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup milk, warm
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 tsp (2 packets) active dry yeast
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

Cream cheese filling
2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
Confectioner's sugar to taste

To finish
2/3 cup cherry preserves (or preserves of your choice)
1 egg

1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 1/4 cup warm milk. Mix ingredients well, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 15 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, and milk. Add the yeast mixture and knead for about 15 minutes. (If you have an electric mixer with dough hook, you should be able to reduce kneading time to about 10 minutes). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

3. Prepare cream cheese filling by beating together cream cheese, egg yolk, and sugar until smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 340 F. After dough has risen, roll in out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 2 cm. Use a glass or a 4-inch cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough. Place a small spoonful of cream cheese filling in the center of each circle, and fold into a "purse" shape.

5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and place the kolaches onto baking sheet seam-side down. Make an indention on the top of each kolach, and place a small spoonful of cherry preserves into each indention. Brush pastries with egg wash.

6. Bake at 340 F for about 20 minutes. Kolaches will be golden brown when done. Best served warm or at room temperature, but can be stored for up to 5 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

-Recipe adapted from challenge recipe available at

-Posted by Jennifer

Friday, June 27, 2014

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Cinnamon Rolls

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and kill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

When I was growing up, cinnamon rolls were one of my favorite breakfast treats, and one that I associate with special occasions and holidays. I still love cinnamon rolls, and often buy the refrigerated dough to bake off on the weekends. Until this challenge, I had never attempted to make the rolls from scratch, but was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was! Of course, it does take a little of planning, as the dough had to rise overnight, but this is definitely a recipe worth repeating!

After preparing dough and allowing to rise overnight, roll into a rectangle and spread with softened butter.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the butter.

Roll dough into a tight cylinder.

Cut cylinder into 12 equal size rolls.

Allow rolls to rise until doubled in size, then bake.

Add glaze to warm rolls and enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 rolls


1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, very soft
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp butter, melted
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Make dough: Warm the milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over low heat, until about 100 degrees F. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over the milk mixture. Do not stir. Set aside for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Whisk the butter, vanilla and egg yolk into the mixture.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed, then turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead dough for 6 minutes, and then form the dough into a ball.

3. Brush melted butter into the inside of a large bowl, and place dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Punch down dough to release air. Reform dough into a ball and place it in buttered bowl, covered with a buttered piece of plastic wrap. Allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours.

5. On a floured surface, roll dough out into a 10 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the entire rectangle of dough. 

6. Make the filling by mixing together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon, and sprinkle over the butter.

7. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder, beginning from the long side facing you. Cut cylinder evenly into 12 pieces.

8. Place the rolls in a buttered 13 x 9 inch pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm location for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow rolls to cool for 10 minutes before adding the glaze.

10. Make glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar, sweetened condensed milk, melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Spread glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy! 

-Posted by Jennifer

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Baumkuchen

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

I had seen pictures of cakes such as Baumkuchen before, but never knew the technique for creating so many layers until I participated in this challenge. The process was surprisingly simple, although time consuming, and the finished cake looks very impressive with its many layers. The cake wasn't too rich, with most of the flavor coming from the marzipan, and it stayed fresh for several days after baking. I will caution that you must watch the cake at all times when baking- just a few seconds too long under the broiler will ruin it! 

Spreading the first layer of batter into the cake pan.

Adding the second layer of batter.


(9-inch cake)

6 eggs, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup marzipan
14 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/3 cup apricot jam
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven broiler. Line 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and grease both the pan and the paper.

2. Separate eggs. Beat the egg whites with salt until whites hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar until whites hold stiff peaks.

3. Crumble marzipan and beat with butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat well. Carefully fold in flour and egg white mixture, trying not to deflate the whites.

4. Spread about 1/10 of the batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Bake under broiler until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

5. Remove cake from oven and spread another layer of batter over the first. Bake under broiler until golden brown. Repeat this process until batter is gone.

6. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

7. Heat the apricot jam slightly and strain through a sieve. Brush cake with the strained jam.

8. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler, until smooth. Glaze cake with melted chocolate.

9. Allow chocolate to set, and enjoy!

-Adapted from recipe published in "101 heerlijke recepten voor cake & gebak" (ISBN: 3-7742-6073). English translation available at

-Posted by Jennifer