February 11, 2015

Chocolate cake with caramel buttercream and crunchy caramel popcorn



Over the past 5 1/2 years I've taken countless photos. It would be quite exciting to know the exact number... or maybe not.
Out of all these, obviously I love all the photos I post, more or less. But there are some that are special. Those that have a little extra something.
This whole shoot is exactly like that for me.
What makes it even more special is that the house we shot this in is no longer what it used to be. Obviously, the house was pretty run down and in great need of renovation, but still.. look at that turquoise kitchen cabinet and that beautiful golden medallion wallpaper. The paintings, the marble table and the chair. I could spend a long time in there, just looking through the old newspapers lying around.



I had been in this house a few times prior to shooting in it, with permission from the owners of course. When I was working on my last published book "Sweet food & photography" I told my publisher about this house and I could see the excitement in her eyes. I told her about the wallpaper, the newspapers (I had yet to discover the kitchen cabinet) and the light. There is definitely something special about the light in old houses. She said to me "you HAVE to take photos in this house". So I took her advice. First, we (and by we I mean me and my friend/assistant Emma) made a test shoot with some muffins and pies I had lying around at home. I remember it was so freezing in the house that day. Even colder than outside. I think this was in April 2014. I realized that it was a perfect location to shoot and that I had to come back and do it again.


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About one month later we came back to shoot. Everything was exactly as we left it. What I also love about this shoot is that I didn't even have to bring any props. We found everything we needed in the house (except for the cakes, flowers and plates, obviously). Now, all of that is gone. I'm a rather nostalgic person, so the fact that it's all gone makes me think about it even more. I try to remind myself that the house was in pretty bad shape and that it was just a matter of time before it had to be demolished or something. Now, the house has new owners, turning it into their dream house. I'm just happy I was able to take these photos before it was too late! Of course, I gave a copy of my book to the previous owners as a thank you for letting me shoot there.
Many of these photos are from my book Sweet food & photography, which is being translated into English, French, Dutch and German. Feeling very grateful! I also felt like I had to share this recipe from the book because it truly is one of the best cakes. The crunchy caramel popcorn on top.. well, all I can say is, try not to eat them all straight from the baking sheet...
Oh, and by the way, that framed photo to the right in the photo above is of a kitten sitting on a table next to a cactus. How great is that?






CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM 
AND CRUNCHY CARAMEL POPCORN
Recipe from my book Sweet food & photography

INGREDIENTS 
CHOCOLATE CAKE
75 g (about 5 1/2 tbsp) butter
1 3/4 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp (270 g) all purpose flour
2/3 cup (60 g) cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (340 g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
barely 1 cup milk
2/3 cup strong hot coffee or water

SALTED CARAMEL
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup (225 g) granulated sugar
1 scant stick (100 g) cold butter, in cubes
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

CARAMEL SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
4 egg whites (approximately 150 g)
3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tbsp (180 g) granulated sugar
2 sticks + 2 tbsp (250 g) butter, at roomtemperature, cut in cubes
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp caramel (recipe above)

CRUNCHY CARAMEL POPCORN
1 bag of salted microwave popcorn (only use half of the popcorn for this recipe), or make your own
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp caramel


INSTRUCTIONS
CHOCOLATE CAKE
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour two 6-inch (15 cm) baking pans.
2. Melt the butter and let it cool.
3. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, coffee and butter and stir until batter is smooth.
4. Divide the batter between the baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans before you turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


SALTED CARAMEL
1. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan. Set aside.
2. Put the sugar in another saucepan and heat on medium high until the sugar starts melting around the edges. Carefully swirl the sugar with a heatproof spoon until all the sugar has melted. If you’re using a baking thermometer, the sugar should be about 338°F (170°C).
3. Add the butter, piece by piece, and stir until melted. Carefully add the warm cream (it will bubble up!) little by little and stir until smooth. Stir in the salt.
4. Pour caramel into a jar and let cool to room temperature while you make the buttercream.


CARAMEL SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
1. Pour egg whites and sugar in a clean and heat proof bowl (preferably stainless steel or glass). Put the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. The bowl should fit snugly, and the water should not be touching the bowl.
2. Whisk the sugar and eggs with a whisk constantly until the mixture reaches about 65°C (about 140-150°F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, just rub some mixture between your fingers. If the sugar has melted and mixture is hot to the touch, it's ready.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, beat until white, fluffy and cool with a stand- or electric mixer. This step can take about 5-10 minutes.
4. When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled and soupy just keep beating until smooth! Add the caramel and beat until smooth.


CRUNCHY CARAMEL POPCORN
1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
2. Make the popcorn according to the instructions on the bag.
2. Put half of the popcorn and the caramel (if the caramel is too thick, heat it for a few seconds in the microwave) in a bowl and stir until the popcorn is coated with caramel. Spread popcorn in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
3. Bake the popcorn for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Remove baking sheet from the oven and leave to cool.


ASSEMBLY
1. If cakes are rounded on top, even out with a knife. Cut both cake layers in half using a sharp serrated knife (you'll end up with four thinner layers). Put the first layer on a cake board or a cake stand. Spread buttercream on the first layer. Add the next layer and repeat until you've used up all four layers
2. Spread a thin layer of buttercream all over the cake (this is the crumb coating layer, to hold all the crumbs in place) using an offset spatula. Put the cake in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until the crumb coating layer has firmed up a bit (leave the bowl of frosting in room temperature).
3. Spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake until cake is smooth. For a totally even and smooth surface, dip an offset spatula in warm water and dry it between every pass. Works like a charm!
4. Put the crunchy popcorn on top of the cake and pour remaining caramel sauce over.



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January 12, 2015

Double chocolate banana muffins with mascarpone frosting and bourbon caramel sauce



So, this is my first post of the new year. I know, I know, it's already the 12th , but I felt like I had to mention it. 2014 sure had its ups and downs. My trip to Iceland and the release of my new book Sweet food & photography are two of my favorite things from last year.

I have been baking like never before these past weeks, something that hasn't been very noticeable on the blog. Finally I had some time to bake for the blog.
I had two very sad looking bananas lying in my kitchen that I didn't want to throw them away, so I figured I'd make something easy with them. Chocolate muffins maybe? Then I remembered I still had the jar of dry ingredients from my last blogpost! So I used that and added the bananas. I didn't think these muffins could get any better, but boy was I wrong. They came out even more moist than before. So, when in doubt, add a banana or two. Well, maybe they don't go with everything.. These muffins are absolutely perfect without the frosting, but I have a thing for this particular one. Mascarpone frosting.  It's not very sweet, it just adds that extra creaminess. And the bourbon caramel sauce. Don't even get me started the bourbon caramel sauce. Honestly, I don't even particularly like drinking beverages with alcohol (and especially not bourbon) but in baked goods, it just works so well.


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December 16, 2014

DIY - Edible gifts in jars



First, I have to tell you that I'm beyond excited about this post! I don't think I've ever put so much time and effort into making one blogpost (in 5 1/2 years people!). Totally worth it though. I loved every second of it and I've been so excited to share this with you so you can go ahead and make your own gifts. I read somewhere that DIY gifts like these were for "lazy" people but I'm of a different opinion. To me, making a gift really shows that you care. That you put time and effort into making something unique for that special someone.

I made labels using photoshop, printed them on thick white paper which I then used double-sided-tape to stick to the jars. Instructions can be put on the back of each jar, or you can just print them on paper and hand them over to the person who receives the gift.




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December 10, 2014

Four hot drinks for the holidays



There is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of cocoa during the holidays. In fact, I don't think I drink hot cocoa any other time of the year than December. Maybe January if it's cold and snowy (and it always is, and February, and March..). December is never as cold and snowy as I wish it was. Right now I'm sitting in front of my computer (obviously) and the rain is pouring down and it looks like it's not gonna stop for a while. Make that days. And I'm drinking cardamom coffee. Now there's another tip for you, just put some freshly ground cardamom with your coffee grinds and you have cardamom coffee. Ta-da!
Here are a few of my favorite hot drinks which I seem to come back to every year. Enjoy!

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December 5, 2014

How to pipe a rose cupcake



Now this post has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but hey, why not make these into Christmas cupcakes?! I just LOVE piping cupcakes like this so I thought I'd show you how I do it. The recipe for these white chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream is in my new book, Sweet food & photography, which you can get for a really good price at Bokus right now. The perfect Christmas gift I think!
Note that this book is in Swedish, but it will be out in English in spring 2016, but while you're waiting for it you can always have a look in my cake book, Lomelino's cakes, which is finally available in English! Get it here!

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November 26, 2014

Gingerbread bundt cake with lingonberries

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Bundt cakes make me nervous.
The cake doesn't, but the unfolding part does. That freaks me out every time. I can feel my heart beating faster every time I'm about to do it. I think it's because I've baked in some seriously bad bundt pans before. But this one is just awesome and the cakes come out perfect every time.
More than anything though, bundt cakes make me happy. There is just something so... simple about them that makes me love them. Simple and beautiful.



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November 3, 2014

Kladdkaka - Swedish chocolate cake



This cake is one of those cakes I take for granted somehow. I love it so much but I rarely bake it. Before I started baking like crazy, about 5 years ago, I used to bake two times a year, tops. Two times a year, that's it. And when I did, it was always "kladdkaka" (roughly translated "sticky cake" or "gooey cake" but I'll just call it Swedish chocolate cake). Why kladdkaka then? Well, first of all, it was the only recipe I knew how to make. Second, it's probably the easiest thing you could possibly make, and it's just so darn delicious.You simply have to make this one! And don't forget to serve it with whipped cream (vanilla ice cream is ok as well)!

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October 24, 2014

Iceland + iambear


I made a video for up-and-coming artist Iambear while I was in Iceland. Such perfect scenery for this song (which is called 16:40 by the way) I think. Listen to more awesome music from Iambear on Soundcloud. Note to self, next time, bring a working tripod to windy Iceland.

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October 18, 2014

Iceland part II


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As I mentioned in my last Iceland post, we were in Reykjavik the first day and for a few hours the last day. I was so tired the first day that I had to go to bed early so I didn't get to see much. I was able to snap some photos the last day though.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the vegetarian options in the restaurants we went to! The first day I had vegan toast, not something you would find in my hometown exactly. Then in the evening I can't even remember what I ate because I was so tired. The second day I had a "bygotto" (risotto but with barley instead of rice). Even in the lobster restaurant they had a vegetarian option. I was pretty impressed. It's not often that I eat this good food whilst traveling. And in Sweden I'm used to having goat cheese and mushrooms in most dishes (ok, that might be an exaggeration but I hate goat cheese with a passion).


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October 12, 2014

Iceland part I


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I've seen mountains. I've seen northern lights, waterfalls, beaches with black sand and pink sunsets. I've seen long empty roads. I've seen more sheep than I could ever count. I've bathed in hot springs (and a jacuzzi!).
We drove in the highlands through water and gravel without seeing a single soul for hours. In the dark and through the thickest fog I've ever seen. For a few minutes I was quite worried, but we kept our spirits up in the car. I've seen some unreal things that I never thought I would see. And in very good company. It has been a remarkable journey in so many ways and I will never forget it.
The beauty of Iceland has blown me away. It's a place of magic.


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