Tag Archives: cream cheese frosting

What’s Been Cooking? “First month in Münster” edition

Hello there! Long time no blog, I know. My excuse is that F and I were moving countries. After a wonderful 6.5 years in London, we decided it was time for new adventures in a smaller place with a less hectic pace of life, so we moved to Münster, Germany at the end of May. It was hard to leave our friends and communities in London but we are glad to be in Münster, where we already have a good network thanks to F’s friends from his university days.

Part of moving into a new flat in Germany required buying and installing a kitchen. No, not just the appliances – an entire kitchen. Apparently it’s a thing in Germany. Kitchens are seen as “furniture,” and most flats come unfurnished, so…no kitchens! (Or at least they aren’t a guarantee.) Once a kitchen is installed in a flat or house, if those tenants move out they can either take the kitchen with them (yes, people do that) or they can sell it to the new people moving in.

Anyway, designing and buying a kitchen was a new experience for both of us. They are not cheap, but ideally we’ll be in this flat for the next 5-10 years so it’s a worthy investment and we both enjoy cooking and baking. We ended up at KüchenTreff Münster and had a great experience from designing through installation. I’d recommend them if you’re in the Münster area and in the market for a kitchen.

All that was a long-winded way of getting to the point of this post: what F and I have been cooking (and baking) in our new kitchen over the past month! Here goes, in no particular order:

I made our favorite Käsekuchen (German cheesecake) for F’s birthday in mid-June. He returned the favor for my birthday two weeks later by making our now go-to cherry pie from Stella Parks at Serious Eats.

June was Spargel-Saison in northwestern Germany. Spargel is white asparagus, which I never came across until visiting western Germany and Belgium in May/June. It’s a thing, and for many – like F – it’s something to be enjoyed in multitudes for a short time every year. It tastes completely different from green asparagus – milder and sweeter, to me. Peel it, then wrap it in a foil packet with butter and salt and roast it in a 200C/400F oven for 45-60 minutes. Yum.

Back to baking, the first thing I made in our new oven was a batch of my go-to granola. Needless to say, more batches have followed.

Anita Bean’s lentil-stuffed peppers from her Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook made for a tasty and light dinner on a warm summery evening.

We don’t usually celebrate the Fourth of July (American Independence Day), but F wanted to have friends over for a barbecue and he asked if flag cakes are actually a thing. I wasn’t sure, but I checked smitten kitchen and – lo and behold – she had a recipe for one. A classic yellow cake base (it stayed quite moist, maybe thanks to buttermilk) is slathered with cream cheese frosting and topped with berries in the shape of the American flag. I think it’s one of the most patriotic things I’ve ever done or made… It was a hit with our German friends and I’d definitely make the cake again, with or without the flag design.

What have you been cooking recently?

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Recipe: Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

**updated 25 Jan 2015 — now includes beet cream cheese frosting!**

Yes, I’m behind on the Valentine’s Day dessert bandwagon. But F and I are neutral on the holiday — why do you have to wait for a special day to celebrate each other and those you love? So I didn’t actually make this cake because it was Valentine’s weekend. But Sarah had given me extra beets that she wasn’t going to use before traveling, which made this a great opportunity to try her recipe for chocolate beet cake (originally from BBC Good Food). Plus, S & I were coming for dinner, and it’s always better to have more people to help devour dangerously delicious baked goods! IMG_5297 You might be thinking, “Beets? In cake?” I was skeptical, too, but Sarah assured me that you don’t taste the beets at all, and she was right. They add sweetness and keep the cake moist (and help you pretend it’s sort of healthy). S & I seemed to enjoy it, and F gave it an “amazing!” rating.

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This cake is so chocolatey and delicious.  I used a little less sugar than Sarah’s recipe called for and it didn’t seem to make a difference. I’d recommend erring towards the shorter cooking time, as the cake may get dry if you leave it in for the full time. The pink cream cheese frosting, from Joy the Baker, is completely optional but if you choose to go for it you won’t be disappointed.

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (cake adapted from Sarah & frosting adapted from Joy the Baker; serves 7-9)

Ingredients

  • Cake:
    • 185-200g beet(root) (~3 small beets), cooked, peeled, & roughly chopped
    • 200g plain flour
    • 100g cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 240g golden caster sugar (I’m sure granulated sugar would work just as well)
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 200ml sunflower oil
    • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Frosting (optional):
    • 115g (1/2 cup or 4oz) unsalted butter, softened
    • 115g (1/2 cup or 4oz) cream cheese, softened
    • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted/whisked
    • 2 tbsp cooked beets, finely grated & mashed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • .5-1 tsp milk (more for thinner consistency)
    • small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
    • pinch of salt

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 170C (fan).
  • Put the beets in a food processor and blend until they’re finely chopped.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Add the chopped beets, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and whisk to break up the eggs. Pour in the sunflower oil and stir vigorously until fully mixed. The batter will be thick and fudgy.
  • Stir the chopped chocolate into the batter, then pour everything into a loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (OR use a round cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes— you make need to cover the cake with foil partway through baking if it gets too dark on top. (If the cake seems underdone when you take it out, bear in mind that it will set as it cools.)
  • While the cake is cooling, make frosting (optional): put cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or until soft and smooth. Add the butter and beat for 30 seconds or until well combined. Add the beets and beat for another few seconds. Pour in the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, lemon juice, and salt, then beat on medium until the frosting is smooth. Let the frosting chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before frosting the cake.

Enjoy!