Thursday, April 21, 2016

Raspberry Cream Cheese Streusel Coffee Cake

Our lives are quite often punctuated by daily activities or rituals that we just wouldn't function without. Mine are breakfast and afternoon coffee! I always need to have something with my comfort cup of coffee and it has to be something sweet of course!

This post's cake is called coffee cake but truth be told has no coffee in it, but it's called a coffee cake because it makes such a perfect companion to coffee. In fact it tastes better when eaten while drinking coffee than if you have it alone.

I have made this cake before but with different fruits, this time I opted for raspberry and a touch of lemon for fresh and floral flavors.

There's nothing overaly complicated with this recipe but it does require some planning and if possible a bit of preparation ahead. The result is really worth all the effort you put into it.  You will get a cake with four layers all harmoniously combined. The first layer is the rich and soft base, the second is the creamy and sweet cheese layer, topped  by the third layer of tangy raspberries and finished by the last crumbly cinnamon and crunchy almonds layer! 

Let´s start caking. I used an 18 cm springform pan for this one. 

For the Streusel layer :
  • 20 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 20 g sugar 
  • 40 g flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and with the tip of your fingers bring everything together until you get a sandy mixture! I made this layer the night before, and left it in the fridge.

Cake layer:
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 80 g sugar
  • 60 g soft butter
  • 60 g sour cream or yogurt
  • zest of half of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder plus 1/4 baking soda
  • dash of salt
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar, add the sour cream, mix until well combined, add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla and mix again. Add the flour mixture, mix for a few seconds until combined. Spread the batter on the prepared pan, making sure that the edges are about one cm higher, making room for the cheese layer. 

Cheese layer:
  • 125 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 40 g sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 small egg (about 50 to 55 g)
  • 100 to 125 g of fresh raspberries and almonds, preferably slivered (optional)
Mix the cheese with the sugar and lemon zest, once combined add the egg and mix again until you have a homogeneous mixture.

Now pour the mixture over the cake layer, arrange the raspberries until they cover the cheese layer. 
Sprinkle the streusel all over the top and finish with the almonds if using!

Bake in a preheated over (160C) for about 40 min. It will be ready when the edges are golden brown, the middle is slightly soft and the streusel is golden in color!

Leave it to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 min, then remove and let it cool completely. You can sprinkle some dusting sugar or have it as it is with some fresh raspberries and some coffee of course!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Easy Vegan Homemade Granola!

I have said it before in several of my posts: breakfast was, is and will always be my favorite meal of the day. I have to admit that sometimes it becomes an obsession as I start thinking of tomorrow´s breakfast while preparing today's!

From heavy, calorie-loaded and greasy breakfasts to really light and healthy options. Healthy does not mean stale and boring in my book. Healthy meals can and should be utterly delicious, I mean think about it, how can a meal be delicious if you need to force yourself to eat it.

Speaking of healthy food, homemade granola is not only tasty but also full of essential nutrients, fiber and iron from oats  and essential fats thanks to all the nuts it has. When you make it at home you can control the amount of sugar to cut down the calories.

Oats are always present in my pantry along with nuts and many vegan butters, so when I´m craving for a good snack I make me some granola. As a bonus, the house smells wonderful whenever I bake granola.

Here´s my easy and vegan granola recipe:
         Dry ingredients:
  • 150 g whole grain flat oats
  • 115 g raw mixed nuts (I used 40 g almonds and the rest was a mix of walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and cashews)
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 30 g grated coconuts
  • 20 g dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
       Wet ingredients
  • 30 g apple butter (preferably homemade)
  • 30 maple syrup (or honey)
  • 15 g melted coconut oil (or an other vegetable oil)
  • 15 g of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 15 g of peanut butter (you can substitute the tahini for an additional 15 of peanut butter)
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

First start by preheating your oven to 150 C.

In a big bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients (you may need to start with the peanut butter and heat it a bit in the microwave) and now all you need is to coat the dry ingredients with the wet ones.

On a tray covered with parchment paper, spread the granola into a thin layer and bake for about 40 min, making sure to mix every 10 to 15 min as the edges tend to dry before the center. 

Once they are all golden brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Fill the granola in a glass jar and enjoy. It keeps well for about a week or so!

I usually have granola with some yogurt and fruits, but I've had them with coffee, mixed with unsweetened cream, as a crunchy topping to vanilla ice cream scoops...The options are endless, so be creative and enjoy delicious and nutritious homemade vegan granola.