Spring Meal with Friends

Pasta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic

As I started describing in my last blog post, Mr BT and I went to our friends Cassia and Massimo for a festive Yom Ha’atzmaut meal: we brought the lamb and dessert and Massimo made the primo piatto, pasta with sauteed cherry tomatoes and garlic. The cherry tomatoes were sauteed in a lovely extra virgin oil oil from our favorite olive oil producer, the Jahshan family in Kalanit near Tiberias, and he also added about six cloves of fresh garlic that we bought at Shuk Ramle a week before. The cherry tomatoes were bursting with sweetness and the garlic gave the sauce a slight fiery touch. It was bellissimo!

Cassia and Massimo also provided the wine we all bought at the La Terra Promessa Winery in Kibbutz Gat. The winery is run by Sandro and Irit Pelligrini. Sandro is originally from Parma, Italy and his wife Irit’s family is originally from Cochin, India. The winery is in southern Israel near the buffalo farm that we like to visit to buy their delicious buffalo yogurt, cream and cheeses, which are now available a some supermarkets around the country. La Terra Promessa wines were a pleasant surprise: fruity, full-bodied with a wonderful bouquet, and featuring grapes that are relatively uncommon here in Israel, such as Primitivo. They also had a very interesting Emerald Riesling that was dry, instead of the usual semi-sweet Israeli wines made from this grape. Sandro and Irit also have a restaurant that has received good reviews, featuring dishes from both their Italian and Cochin heritages.

Buttermilk, Raspberry and Almond Cake

For dessert, I made a soft almond and buttermilk sponge cake filled with raspberries which we served with Massimo’s homemade limoncello. His limoncello is some of the best I have ever had and he has promised to show me how to make it when I can find some unwaxed organic lemons.

Buttermilk Raspberry Cake and Lemoncello

Raspberry-Almond Buttermilk Cake

Serving Size: 8

This is a quick and easy dessert that is perfect for Shabbat or anytime.

140g (1-1/2 cups) ground almonds or almond flour

140g (1 stick or 10 tablespoons) butter or margarine

140g (3/4 cups) sugar

140g (1 cup) self-raising flour

1 egg or 2 eggs for a parve cake

3/4 cup buttermilk (omit for parve cake)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g (2 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen or any other berries

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Place a piece of round parchment in the base of a 20cm (8-inch) springform tin and grease the tin with butter or margarine. Place the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a food processor and blitz until combined.

Spread half of the mixture in the cake tin and then scatter the raspberries over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top and spread with a pallet knife. Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown on the top.


Tamarind Date Cake for Tu Bishvat

Tamarind Date Cake

Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday in the Hebrew month of Shevat, usually sometime in late January or early February, that marks the New Year of the Trees (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות, Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot‎) or the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. It is customary to plant trees and eat dried fruits and nuts, especially figs, dates, raisins, carob, and almonds.

Even though it is considered a minor festival, the commandment to plant trees in the Land of Israel is so important in Jewish tradition that there is even an ancient Rabbinical saying that if you see the Messiah arrive while you are on your way to plant a tree, you have to finish planting it before greeting him.

This Tu Bishvat I am recovering from the flu, but I decided that it was important to still make something this year in memory of all of those who lost their lives in the tragic Carmel fire last month. I wish their families no more sorrow and pray for a new, healthy forest to grow in place of the old one.

Dates and Tamarind

I made a Baronessed version of my baking hero,  Dan Lepard‘s Tamarind Date Cake. The original recipe calls for dates, which I assume most people would use Madjools, but I decided to take advantage of the different varieties of dates we have on offer here and used Madjool (center in picture above), Dekel Noor (right), and Halawi (left) dates. I wasn’t sure what Dan meant by tamarind paste in the recipe, but I used mashed whole tamarind (top of picture above) instead of the smooth paste you can buy in a jar. The mashed tamarind is more readily available in health food stores here.

This cake is delicious, moist and not too sweet because the tamarind adds a nice sour note to the cake. This is the second best date cake I have ever had. The best is my father’s fresh apple cake that has an equal amount of dates in the recipe.

Tamarind Date Cake Slice

Tamarind Date Cake

Yield: 1 round cake

Serving Size: 8

adapted recipe from Dan Lepard

200g (7 ounces) chopped dates (Madjool or a combination of several varieties)

50g (1.7 ounces or 1/4 cup) tamarind paste

300ml (1-1/4 cup) water

250g (1/2lb or 2 sticks) unsalted butter

150g (5 ounces or 1/2 cup) dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

275g (9.7 ounces or 2-3/4 cups) plain flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

Zest of 1 large orange

175g (6 ounces or 1-1/2 cups) walnuts, roughly chopped

Line the base and sides of a deep, 18cm (7 inch) cake tin with nonstick baking paper, and heat the oven to 180C/350F (160C/325F convection). Put the dates, tamarind paste and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute, remove from the heat, add the butter, and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Place the date mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar, stir, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Ina separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, spices and orange zest together and add to the date mixture until combined. Then, stir in the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pan, and completely cool on a cake rack.


Baroness’ Sinful Honey Cake

Rosh Hashana Table 122

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday for starting anew. So for this year’s holiday I decided to create my own signature honey cake, something special to welcome the new promise of a sweet year to come. What would be better than to take a honey cake and top it with thinly sliced apples that were poached in white wine, and top it with a luscious 72% dark chocolate glaze. Actually, it is so delicious as to be positively sinful. Fortunately, we have just over a week to enjoy it, confident in the knowledge that on Yom Kippur we will be able to atone for this sin.

This year, as in every year, we celebrated Rosh Hashana with family and friends in Jerusalem. We thought of loved ones we missed, we laughed , and we thought of all of the things we want to do to make this year more sweet, more healthy, more prosperous, and most importantly more peaceful.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life and we hope you have happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful new year.

We would also like to wish Eid Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends.

Chag Sameach,

Baroness Tapuzina and Mr BT

Apple and Honey Cake 120

Baroness' Sinful Honey Cake

Yield: One frosted round cake and 1 plain loaf cake

Serving Size: 8-10 (round cake) and 10 (loaf cake)

For the poached apples:

3 medium granny smith apples, peeled and cored

1/2 bottle Riesling white wine

2 cinnamon sticks

5 whole cloves

2 large pieces of orange peel

1 sheet of parchment paper

For the honey cake:

1/2 cup dried sugarless cranberries

1/4 cup candied orange peel

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

800g (6 cups + 3 tablespoons) spelt whole grain flour or all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1-1/2 cups honey

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee

1 cup boiling water

2 level teaspoons baking soda

Zest of two medium oranges

For the chocolate glaze:

200g (7oz) 72% premium dark chocolate

50g (3.5 tablespoons) butter or margarine

For the poached apples:

Place the apples in a medium size pan and add the spices and orange peel. Cover with the white white and place the parchment paper on top of the apples. Poach on medium heat and reduce the heat to a simmer. Poach the apples for 15 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy. Remove from the poaching liquid, put them in a covered container and refrigerate until cold. This can be done the day before baking.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F). Grease a 22cm (8-inch) round spring-form pan and a loaf pan.

Place the cranberries, orange peel, and walnuts in a food processor and grind until each ingredient is in fine pieces. Be careful not to grind it into a paste. Set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add the honey, oil and eggs, and whisk into a smooth batter. Dissolve the coffee into 1 cup of boiling water. Add the baking soda to the batter, and then add the coffee. Gently fold in the orange rind, and the cranberry, candied orange and walnut mixture.

Pour half of the batter into round pan and the other half into the loaf pan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the cake is dark brown and the toothpick is clean with a few crumbs adhering. Depending on your oven, you may have to bake your cakes for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Cool in the pan until completely cooled. The cake a be prepared up to two days ahead.

For the chocolate glaze:

Just before assembling the cake, melt the chocolate over a water on low heat and add the butter or margarine. Cool for 5 minutes.

For assembly:

Slice the apples into thin slices and place on top of the round cake. Place the chocolate glaze in the middle of the cake and spread to the edges of the top of the cake. Let chocolate glaze will thicken as it cools.


Lemon-Blackberry Coffeecake

I have had people ask me if there is any type of food that I really miss having here in Israel, and I usually say real Chinese and Indian restaurants. But, last week I saw a big container of frozen blackberries on sale and it reminded me of the beautiful container of large, sweet blackberries my sister bought when I was visiting her in the States a few months ago. I really miss fresh berries of all kinds, especially raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. There were blackberry bushes at the end of the street where I grew up, and every summer I would go and pick some to eat on the spot, or gather some and take them home, where they were made into delicious blackberry pies. You can find berries growing in northern Israel, but you have to pay double or triple what you pay in the States for them, and you only get a very small container.

I put some of the blackberries on top of a bowl of sheep’s yogurt and the rest I used to make a quick and easy coffeecake for Shabbat.

Lemon-Blackberry Coffeecake

Serving Size: 8 to 10

For the streusel:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

40g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

For the cake:

50g (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, well drained

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly butter a 22cm (8 inch) round pan or use a corrugated paper baking round.

For the streusel:

Whisk together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt in a medium-size bowl. Mix in the softened butter into the flour mixture until it resembles granola, some larger chunks, some smaller. Set the mixture aside.

For the cake:

Cream the butter and sugar until light colored and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Add to the batter, mixing only until combined. Do not over mix or the cake will be tough. Gently fold in the blackberries until well distributed throughout the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the lemon streusel mixture until the batter is completely covered.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Red Currant Kuchen

I have been trying to find ways to use up the remaining flour in the cupboard and luck would have it that I was invited to spend Shabbat with good friends. I insisted on making a cake and suggested a cranberry kuchen only to find that the fresh-frozen cranberries cost 31 NIS (8.40USD) for 400g. I decided to make the cake with fresh-frozen red currants that were on sale. I love red, white and black currants and have been know to eat an entire container of them when I am in Germany during berry season. Actually, I love all berries. I just wish they weren’t so expensive here.

I usually don’t like making parve cakes, but I have always wanted to try rice milk as a substitute for milk and I used Vanilla Rice Dream in this recipe. The cake turned out moist and delicious, and most importantly it didn’t taste artificial like other parve cakes do. It did take longer than 30 minutes to bake the cake and I am not sure if it is my oven or the rice milk.

Red Currant Kuchen

Serving Size: 8

110g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

400g fresh or fresh frozen red currants, thawed and drained of its juices

1 large egg

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk or vanilla rice milk

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease the bottom and sides of a 22cm (8-inch) round cake pan. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar on the currants and drain all juices before sprinkling them on top of the cake batter. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, until well combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Place the drained currants evenly on top of the batter and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake the cake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before serving.


Holiday Stollen

It was my turn again to bring goodies for my team’s weekly Kabbalat Shabbat. Since my turn fell on Christmas Eve and given the fact that none of us celebrate Christmas, I thought I would do something unusual and make a typical German Christmas fruit cake that no one on my team had ever seen or tasted.

Stollen is something that is very familiar to me because my family would eat it along with lebkuchen, speculaas, and my grandmother’s famous butter cookies for Hannukah and the end of the year family celebrations. My grandmother never made a stollen at home, but she always received one from family friends in Germany. I thought it would be fun to make one. Now I know why my grandmother never made it and only served it once a year. It is an absolute calorie bomb! Only make this if you are giving 99.9% of it away as I did. Of course, you are welcome to eat as much as you want, it is absolutely delicious, but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you about your growing hips.

I think most of the team liked it because they are still talking about it this week and asking me when I am going to bake another one.

I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Holidays and a Peaceful 2010 from the Tapuzina baronial dynasty.

Holiday Stollen

Yield: Makes 2 loaves, each about 700 grams (1 1/2 pounds)

2/3 cup black raisins

2/3 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries

1/3 cup dark rum

1 cup almond halves, lightly toasted

1 package active dry yeast (25g fresh yeast)

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved

450g (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

1/4 cup chopped candied orange

1/4 cup chopped candied lemon

2 cups icing sugar


The night before baking, put the raisins, cherries or cranberries, and rum in a small bowl.


Put the almonds with 1/4 cup water in another small bowl. Cover both and let sit overnight at room temperature.

Stollen Starter

The next day, in an electric mixer with paddle attachment, set on low speed, make the starter by mixing the yeast with milk until dissolved. Add 1 cup flour and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer the starter to a lightly greased bowl, cover with oiled or buttered plastic wrap, and let rest for 40 minutes at room temperature.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and set on low speed, mix the remaining 3 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, lemon zest and vanilla seeds. With the motor running, pour in 1 cup of melted butter. Mix at low speed for 1 minute, then add the egg yolk. Mix until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute more. You may have to add a little milk if the mixture is still too dry.

Divide the starter into 3 pieces and add it to the mixing bowl, 1 piece at a time, mixing at low speed until each addition is thoroughly combined, 2 to 3 minutes after each addition. After the starter is absorbed, mix the dough on a medium speed until glossy, 4 to 5 minutes.


Add the almonds, candied ginger, candied orange and candied lemon, and mix at low speed until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the raisins, cherries, and rum, and mix until combined, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Stollen Dough

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the fruit and nuts are well mixed into the dough rather than sitting on the surface, and the dough is smooth and glossy, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1 hour to let rise slightly, then knead it once or twice, cover with plastic and let rest for another hour.

Shaped Stollen

Divide into two equal pieces and shape each into an oval loaf about 20cm (8 inches) long. Stack two rimmed baking sheets on top of each other, lining the top sheet with parchment paper. Place the loaves on top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the loaves to rest for 1 more hour at room temperature.

Baked Stollen

About 20 minutes before the rise is completed, preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Remove the plastic wrap and bake for about 1 hour. The loaves should be uniformly dark golden brown and the internal temperature taken from middle of each loaf should be 88C (190F).

Stollen covered in Ginger Sugar

Meanwhile, mix the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 2-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger in a small bowl. When stollen is done, transfer the top pan onto a wire cooling rack (leave stollen on pan). While still hot, brush the stollen with the remaining 1 cup of melted butter, letting the butter soak into loaves. Sprinkle the ginger sugar on the tops and sides of the loaves. When the loaves are completely cool, cover loosely parchment paper or foil and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

The next day, sift 1-1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar over the loaves, rolling to coat the bottom and sides evenly with sugar. Wrap each loaf in plastic and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 days before sifting the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar over the loaves before serving.


Molasses Crumb Cake

I don’t always make a dessert for Shabbat, but sometimes Mr. BT requests something a little sweet. I haven’t made anything with molasses in years, in fact, I think it was when I was a child and I helped my mother make and decorate gingerbread men for a holiday party at my school. The supermarket near my home had regular and robust molasses for sale. I was a bit surprised since most of the people who shop there are Yemenite, but maybe they make something with molasses that I don’t know about.

Mr. BT was not too excited about anything with molasses, so I had to find something that would appeal to his love of anything ginger. I found an interesting recipe for Molasses Crumb Cake from the King Arthur Flour website. Usually their recipes are a bit too American for my taste, but every once in a while they surprise me with an interesting recipe. The cake is a one bowl cake that is perfect to make on short Fridays during the winter. It is moist and has a burst of spiciness that made Mr BT say “Yum!” A half recipe turned out fine.

Molasses Crumb Cake

Serving Size: 24

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

220g (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, cold and cut into 2-1/2 cm (1-inch) pieces

1 cup robust molasses

2 large eggs

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and flour 22cm x 33 cm (9x13-inch) pan.

Mix the flour, sugar, and ginger in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, like coarse cornmeal. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture. Add the molasses, eggs, water, and baking soda to the remaining crumb mixture and hand-whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool to lukewarm before serving.


The Cake with the Heart of Gold

Quince season is just about over here and I wanted to make one last quince dish before they left the market. I found an interesting spice cake recipe from a lovely blog called Hungry Cravings. I adapted her recipe slightly. I like more spice flavour so I added more ground ginger and added cardamom. I also substituted yogurt for sour cream and used dark brown sugar instead of light. This is a delicious and moist cake, and would also be nice with pears or plums.

Quince Spice Cake

Serving Size: 8 to 10

Adapted recipe from Hungry Cravings

For the quince:

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla paste

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole cloves

2 quinces

For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

113g unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature

Combine the water, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, vanilla paste and 1 cup of the sugar in a small pot. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Peel, quarter, and core the quinces. Add the quinces to the pot and drape them with a piece of parchment paper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour, or until tender. Remove the quinces to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the poaching syrup for another use, and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a loaf pan. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ of the yogurt, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining ½ of the yogurt, and then the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing on low for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined, and stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix.

Place the batter in the loaf pan. Slice three of the quince halves thinly, but not all the way through, fan out the slices atop the batter, spacing them evenly apart. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to shrink away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and finish cooling completely.


Birthday Cake

It was my turn to bring goodies for my team’s weekly Kabbalat Shabbat, which literally means “Receiving Sabbath”. Kabbalat Shabbat is usually celebrated by reciting Psalms and prayers before Shabbat begins on Friday evening, but in Israeli companies and offices it has also come to mean a break on Thursday for colleagues to get together informally over savory or sweet munchies and drinks. Weather permitting, we have our break on the rooftop of our building where there are nice niches with tables and chairs to sit and look over the Sharon plain. Since my birthday was the next day, I decided to bring a birthday cake. Usually we bring coffee cakes or cheese and nuts, but when someone has a birthday, they try to bring something more special.

When I was a child, I always asked for a German Chocolate cake for my birthday. Talk about sickeningly sweet! I am not sure when I stopped asking for cakes with tons of frosting, but now I really dislike buttercream, or even worse, frosting made with shortening like they put on cakes in the States with cups and cups of icing sugar.

But I don’t mind the sour icing that is put on a carrot cake. Usually, it is icing made with cream cheese, but I found an interesting frosting made with mascarpone and fromage frais, which is a low fat cheese from France. It is similar to German quark. I decided to use labane, a yogurt cheese, that is readily available in the Middle East and is 5% fat. This carrot cake is a moist spicy cake that goes well with the sharpness of the icing.

The team enjoyed the cake and took seconds and thirds, but fortunately there was enough left to bring back to Mr. BT, who would have been disappointed if hadn’t got any.

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone, Labane, and Cinnamon Icing
For the cake:

300g (2 3/4 cups) self-raising flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

335ml (1 2/3 cup) sunflower oil or other light vegetable oil

450g (2 1/4 cup) caster sugar

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/4 chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons hot water

Butter and flour for the tins

For the icing:

500g (1lb) mascarpone

400g (3/4lb) Labane, 5% fat (or drained greek-style yogurt)

1/4 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly grease two 23cm (9-inch) spring-form cake tins with melted butter. Line the bottom of each tin with parchment paper. Butter the paper and then dust the tin with flour.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Separate two of the eggs.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and the sugar. Slowly add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, beating well. Add the carrots, and then add the walnuts. Then add the flour followed by the hot water. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold them into the cake batter.

Divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins. Place the baking tins on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove them from the tray and let cool on a baking rack.

For the icing:

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 1-2 hours, until you are ready to ice the cake.

With a palette knife, spread a layer of icing on one cake, then press the other on top. Spread the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.


Chag Pesach Sameach 5769

Mr. BT and I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Passover. I made a Portuguese Almond Torte from a recipe by David Leite. I had to make a few adjustments to it to make it kosher for Passover, such as unfortunately having to use margarine instead of butter and I used powdered sugar to “flour” the baking pan. It smells wonderful and I am sure it it will be a delicious addition to our Seder.

I am going to borrow a Passover greeting from my cousin and say:

As we gather together this Pesach, may we rejoice in the ritual that binds us as a People. May the celebration of this festive holiday remind us of memorable Seders of the past and inspire us to create new and meaningful rituals for retelling the story of the Exodus today. And, as we celebrate our own freedom from oppression, may we be moved to work toward alleviating the suffering of others.


Mr. BT and Baroness Tapuzina

Bolo de Amêndoa - Portuguese Almond Torte

Serving Size: 10 to 12

Adapted for Passover from a recipe by David Leite

170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature

Icing sugar, for coating the pan

500g (3 cups) blanched slivered almonds

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 large yolks

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

Icing Sugar

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 170C (350F). Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter or margarine, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the paper. Coat the pan with icing sugar and tap out the excess.


Grind the almonds and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a food processor until the consistency of fine cornmeal. Make sure the almonds are as finely chopped as possible. Add the butter or margarine and pulse to combine. Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held mixer in a big bowl, beat 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the yolks on medium-high until very light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the zest, salt, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Add the almond mixture and vanilla.


In an impeccably clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy then slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until the whites form soft, luscious peaks. Add about one third of the egg whites to the almond mixture and stir to lighten. Carefully fold in the remainder of the whites until no streaks show. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 5 minutes before releasing the cake from the pan. Cool completely before serving. The middle will collapse a bit; that is as it should be. Sift icing sugar on top of cake before serving.


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