Croatian Christmas Bundt Cake (Božićni Kuglof)

This cake is perfect for any Sunday family dinner. Although usually made during the Holiday season no one is going to complain if they have a bite or two in the off season. The addition of the apple makes this bundt cake a bit better than the others. Unless you’re a weirdo who’s into dry bundt cakes.

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The combination of nuts and dried fruits I use in this recipe works very well to create a balanced flavor and texture. It received five star rating across the board with all the testers who got to sample it.

Croatian Christmas Bundt Cake cross cut so inside and outside of the cake is visible
Inspiration to get your mouth watery

Traditional Croatian recipe (the way grandma used to make it) has raisins (but who really likes raisins? Zvonimir raises hand, alone.) and arancini. Arancini denominates two different foods, one is what you easily find when you Google it, the other one is what I actually mean here. A dried orange peel covered in sugar, traditional Croatian dessert from the coastal region. Why can’t they just pick an original name? Sigh…

As fun as it would be to rant about language and baking history, you’re here to get your hands dusted into sweet, sweet…

Tools you need

  • Bundt cake pan because you’re making a bundt cake and, well, that’s what you make bundt cakes in 🙂
  • Mixing bowls. Before you can put the ingredients into the bundt cake pan, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue!
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Peeler to peel the apple
  • Grater because it’s one letter away from being great, and you also need it to grate the apple
  • Spatula makes mixing things into other things easier
  • Electric mixer. Mixing is great and all, but doing it by hand can get exhausting. Sometimes you can outsource that work to a family member. Other times you need a bit more power.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. ‘Nuff said.

Ingredients

Servings: 6 people

  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 50 g thinly sliced almonds
  • 50 g coarsely cut walnuts
  • 1 peeled, grated apple
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 1 package (9 g) vanilla sugar
  • 110 g all purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 1 package (14 g) baking powder
  • 90 g melted unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • powdered sugar for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F)
  2. Soak dried cranberries in rum until soft
  3. Mix flour and cornstarch with baking flour and spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves)
  4. In a separate bowl mix eggs with both sugars until foamy
  5. Into eggs and sugar mixture mix in with spatula
    • Dried cranberries with rum
    • Apple
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Flower mixture and melted butter at the end
  6. Mix well until compact
  7. Oil or butter bundt pan and dust with flour
  8. Bake for 45 min until golden brown. Pro tip: pick with a toothpick and if nothing sticks, you’re golden.
  9. Leave the cake in the pan until it cools
  10. Take the cake out of the bundt pan and dust it with powdered sugar

Wrapping up

If you’re the adventure type who likes to stray from a beaten path, test it with any other nuts or dried fruit as you desire or have available in your pantry.

Let me know in the comments which combinations worked well for you and share this on social media.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

When I want to make a dessert from the ingredients I have at home I love to experiment. I find my inspiration online, but I always add a pinch of me in the recipe 🙂 In this recipe I added maple syrup, almond flakes and coconut shavings!

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Tools you need

  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Measuring cups to, as well, measure things with them
  • Good food processor will make this dessert creamier and more delicious
  • Serving wine glasses are perfect for desserts in a glass, look very professional 😀
  • Melting chocolate is a quick and easy job for a microwave
  • Microwave bowls because we don’t want to melt the bowl, just the chocolate 😉

I was a bit skeptical about making a dessert with avocados, but it turned out to be very moist and creamy and the taste of chocolate was dominating. Raspberries give it a bit of freshness and almond flakes a bit of crunchiness. The whole deal is a perfect combination. Any berry and nut combination should be good.

Zvonimir really liked it the first time, so I decided to make it again for our friends when they came to dinner.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did 😀

Ingredients

Servings: 4 people

  • 200 g semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips (at least 60% dark)
  • 4 large, ripe avocados
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons maple syrup

For serving: fresh raspberries, almond flakes and coconut shavings.

Preparation:

  1. Melt the chocolate in microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring between each until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool until just barely warm.
  2. Halve and pit the avocados, place them in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt and maple syrup.
  3. Blend until very smooth and creamy

Serve in glasses along with raspberries, almond flakes and coconut shavings.
You can eat them immediately or keep them in refrigerator for a couple of hours to get thicker consistency.

Which other fruit-nut combination would you try with this?

Lemon Yogurt Cake

One of many interesting things I discovered in Canada is a loaf pan. Having a cake sliced like a bread is the best thing since sliced bread 😉

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I love to bake with purpose. Like making a birthday cake for a friend or family member. Or with intention to play with the ingredients I have at home without having to go to the store.

The other day, two lemons were staring at me with their big, yellow, eyes, telling me that they will go to waste if I don’t do something with them soon. And I had some yogurt that felt the same way. About the same time I came across a recipe by Barefoot Contessa on Pinterest and loved the idea so I decided to put a twist on it and make the unexpected trio happy.

The trio reached nirvana, the cake was super moist with sweet and tangy flavor, and it went perfect with a cup of tea 🙂

Tools you need

  • Loaf pan because we’re making a loaf cake 🙂
  • Mixing bowls. Before you can put the ingredients into the loaf pan, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue!
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things; alternatively, you can use cups, in which case…
  • Measuring cups. Sometimes when you buy measuring cups, measuring spoons come with them
  • Spatula makes mixing things into other things easier
  • Whisk to mix things together. You could use an electric mixer too but you don’t really need one for this cake.
  • Zester to zest lemon zest (is there a way to use zest in that sentence again?)
  • Lemon squeezer. You could just use your hands to squeeze lemons if you want to get your hands juicy. Or you could use a lemon squeezer to keep your germs and lemon pits out of the cake. And possibly look fancy while doing it.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. ‘Nuff said.
  • Parchment paper. Although not really a tool per se, it’s used in preparation of this zesty loaf, so you should be aware of it when preparing to make it.
  • Small pot for syrup preparation

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1-1/2 (150 g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (7.5 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 (2.5 g) teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (245 g) plain yogurt
  • 1 cup (192 g) sugar (granulated)
  • 10 g vanilla sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil

Syrup

  • lemon juice from two lemons minus the 2 tablespoons needed for the glaze
  • 1/3 cups (64 g) sugar (granulated)

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup (130 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation for the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Grease the loaf pan with oil or butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan on the parchment paper and the sides.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. You don’t need to use the electrical mixer, hand whisk is perfect 🙂
  4. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. With a silicon spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, until a toothpick placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Preparation for the syrup

  1. Cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
  2. Set aside until the cake is baked.

Preparation for the glaze

  1. Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and mix well until combined.

Serving

  1. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  2. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.
  3. While the cake is still warm, pick it with the toothpick and pour the syrup over.
  4. Allow it to soak in. Cool it down.
  5. After the cake cools, pour the glaze over (I was too anxious to wait, pressured by those big, yellow, eyes, so the glaze was soaked in as well, ah well… :D)

Enjoy!

Bread and Bacon Stuffing

Have some old bread that you don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away?

We’ll teach you how to spice it up with some bacon and other stuff to make a delicious stuffing for a bird roast.

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This is one of the best ways to use up old bread and to make your Sunday family dinner a little more special than it already is. If you still have some left, consider cinnamon french toast for desert 😉

Traditionally, this stuffing is served with turkey on Christmas as a part of Croatian culinary heritage. Great thing is that you can use this stuffing with any bird of your choice: chicken, turkey, duck… Just add sauce or gravy of your choice with a vegetable salad on the side and your family will be very grateful.

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round.

Tools you need

  • Chef’s knife to cut onion, bacon and parsley
  • Cutting board to, yes, cut things on it 🙂
  • Mixing bowls. You’ll need to mix all the ingredients somewhere.
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Spatula makes mixing things into other things easier
  • Frying pan to fry onions, garlic and pancetta.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 slices pancetta/bacon
  • 3 slices of soft white bread
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Preparation

  1. Tear the bread into rough cubes and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Drizzle the cold milk on and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Finely chop the onion, garlic, pancetta and parsley.
  4. Whisk the eggs with a fork  in a separate bowl.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat and fry the onion, garlic and pancetta until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
  6. Squeeze the bread to get rid of the milk and place in a bowl.
  7. Tip the fried ingredients into the bowl with the bread.
  8. Add whisked eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until combined.
  9. Stuff your chosen bird with it and cook according to the relevant recipe.

What do you do with old bread?

4 Shades of Chocolate Cake

Ever since the book about a rich man with singular tastes and unconventional desires, we started representing things in the number of shades they take. Usually 50. Some things are worth shading and layering more than others. In 4 layers. Which is another even number.

Like this gorgeous chocolate cake that glorifies chocolate as the queen of all sweets.

I got this recipe from my former colleague’s aunt. She baked fabulous cakes for many traditional Croatian events, such as christenings, weddings, Christmas, Easter, anniversaries and birthdays. I was lucky enough to get some of her recipes to share with you 😀

Which makes you lucky also!

 

4 Shades od Chocolate Cake

Now that you know what you’re in for, we can get our hands shaded. This recipe comes in two parts, so make sure you read both when getting the ingredients. You wouldn’t want to miss 3 of the 4 shades, would you? 😉

Ingredients (cake, cream is bellow)

  • 3 eggs divided
  • 150 g baking chocolate (around 70% cocoa)
  • 70 g butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Preparation (cake)

Melt chocolate with butter with a double-boiler on steam.
With electric mixer beat egg whites until stiff.
Beat egg yolks with sugar until foamy, add melted chocolate and mix until combined.
Add flour and stiff egg whites with spatula and mix by hand until combined.

Pour the batter in a round baking mould 26 cm (10 inch) wide.

Bake in a preheated oven on 160 °C (320 °F).

Ingredients (cream)

  • 500 g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar
  • 500 ml whipped cream
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 100 g milk chocolate
  • 100 g dark chocolate (I used 45% cocoa)

Preparation (cream)

Melt each chocolate with a double-boiler on steam or in microwave.
Beat whipped cream until whipped.
Mix mascarpone cheese with sugar and mix in whipped cream.
Divide the mascarpone batter in three equal parts.
In each part mix in different melted chocolate. Mix each batter by hand with spatula until combined.

On a cooled cake first spread dark chocolate cream, then milk chocolate cream and on top, white chocolate cream.

Chill well, preferably over night.

Pro tip: don’t make it hungry 😀

Enjoy 🙂

Puff Pastry Hearts

If you think you have no baking skills, but would like to surprise your loved one(s) on Valentine’s day, this may be a solution to your problem(s)! Well, some of them, anyway…

With little time and good will, you could make these and surprise even yourself 😉

Ingredients (love potion #9)

All you need is (time, will and a little bit of love):

  • 1 puff pastry sheet bought in the store (you want this quick, right?)
  • jam of your desire (as tunes to your heart’s rhythm)
  • 1 egg (that’s kind of a standard ingredient in cakes)
  • a bit of dark chocolate to sprinkle the hearts (because love is sometimes bitter-sweet)

Preparation (you’ll have to work for it)

Though not a lot. You need time to invest in other areas after all. 😉

Roll the puff pastry on a floured surface. Make hearts with the larger heart mould. Spread some jam on one heart, cover with another heart.
Press the edges with a fork to keep the hearts closed. Unless you want broken hearts…
Beat the egg and brush it on the hearts.
Place them on a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 min.

If you desire, melt a bit of dark chocolate on steam and sprinkle with the spoon on the hearts. You can sprinkle them whit icing sugar as well. That’s that bitter-sweet element we mentioned before 😉

I hope you will try to surprise yourself and make some puffy hearts this Valentine’s day :))

Enjoy 🙂

Cinnamon French Toast

On a cold winter Sunday, you sit in your spot and gaze outside to the fluffy snow falling over the ground while squirrels play catch.
It makes you crave something warm and sweet for breakfast, to help you match that fuzzy feeling you have inside.

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One of the best advantages of living in Canada is having the best maple syrup in the world always handy 🙂 (and if you don’t live in Canada, you can order it online. Ah, the perks of that future we live in…)
And the best way to enjoy it is with French Toast, especially with a touch of cinnamon.

Tools you need

You don’t need many tools for this dish and it’s fairly easy to make. You’ll still want to have some of these handy. It’s true things taste better when we work for them but why work harder than you need to?

  • Frying pan just makes frying things easy
  • Chef’s knife to cut the bread into sticks
  • Tongs are useful to flip the sticks over in a controlled way without chasing them around the pan with a fork or piercing the crust
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Measuring cups. Sometimes when you buy measuring cups, measuring spoons come with them
  • Whisk to mix it all together in a small bowl or a plate

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of toast or any other white bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil or unsalted butter for cooking
  • maple syrup for serving

Preparations

  1. Cut bread slices into sticks or leave them in one piece, whatever you prefer. Use old, drier bread if you can. It will soak better and won’t get doughy.
    Bread crust will give them a nice crunch, so don’t cut the crust off.
  2. In a bowl or a plate, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat it on all sides so that it’s well-saturated with the mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl or plate mix cinnamon with sugar. Set aside for coating.
  4. Fry in a preheated frying pan with 2-3 tablespoons of oil on a medium heat.
    Watch out not to put too many pieces at once, they might stick to each other and loose their crispiness, which is no fun!
    Fry until golden brown.
  5. Coat the frying bread in a cinnamon mixture.
  6. Pour as much maple syrup as you like over the toast just before serving and enjoy!

Pro Tip: serve with maple syrup in a cup on the side and pour it over individual toasts to help them stay crispy.

Wrapping up

Now that you’re here there are two questions left.

  1. What do you like better, crispy sticks or slices with soft core?
  2. Other than maple syrup, what do you put on French Toast?

Bazlamača – Croatian Sweet Cornbread

Old fashion, almost forgotten Croatian sweet cornbread was a typical Croatian breakfast over the centuries 🙂

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Croatian Northwest cuisine is based on breads, especially corn breads and all related dishes. This cake makes a great breakfast, which you can compliment with jam or fruit. Yum!

Bazlamača - Croatian Sweet Cornbread

Tools you need

  • Mixing bowls. Before you can put the ingredients into the baking sheet, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue!
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Baking sheets come in different shapes and sizes and it’s good to have a variety available in your kitchen. I used 46 x 33 cm baking sheet which works very nicely with these amounts of ingredients.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Turner spatula like the one in the photo above. You can eat with your hands if you can’t help yourself but it makes plating a lot easier, especially while Bazlamača is still hot
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. Burns hurt and take time to heal. You don’t want to take time off from baking, do you?

Ingredients

Servings: 6-8 people

  • 250 g cottage cheese
  • 75 g sugar
  • 0.5 l of milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.5 l of sour cream
  • 150 g of corn flour
  • 150 g all purpose flour
  • 20 g baking powder

The traditional Croatian recipe (the way grandma used to make it) has much larger measurements since in the old days families were larger. But that’s another topic entirely 🙂

Preparation

  1. Mix both flours with salt and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl mix cottage cheese well with milk, sour cream, sugar, salt and eggs.
  3. Combine the two mixtures and mix until you get a smooth, medium thick batter.
  4. Grease the baking sheet. Pour the batter in and bake at 180 °C until golden brown.
  5. When the cake is done, allow it to cool slightly and cut as desired. Cake’s surface can additionally be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Wrapping up

I like topping it off with different jams. Other options are honey, custard, maple syrup…

What do you think this would go well with?

Tell us in the comments bellow.

Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World

It’s a fabulous project with amazing people for a worthy cause!

And it feels great to be a part of it. Joined with over dozen people with their Christmas traditions, Zvonimir and I are very happy to present Croatian Christmas to the world 🙂

foodieschristmasrecipesbook

If you ever wondered what different people all over the world traditionally eat at Christmas time, this book is here to answer that burning question of yours 😉
It also gets you head in and hands on to experiencing it. Wanna change things a bit this Christmas? Or just make weekend cuisine memorable leading up to your Christmas traditional? It’s really up to you.

This book is more than a Christmas present or a great cookbook. With all proceeds going to Action Against Hunger, this, more than 400 pages book, with almost 100 recipes from all around the world, is a piece of art with charitable note. Action Against Hunger is a global organization that aims to save the lives of malnourished children in over 40 countries. You can feel a little bit better about yourself while you’re celebrating.

It is a privilege to be a co-author along with great contributors such as Azlin Bloor, Lisa Watson, Nomad Dimitri, Joy Stewart, Shana Shameer and Indrani Sen. Their food knowledge and experience is priceless 🙂

Available on Kindle on your favourite Amazon site: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon AUS.

Book Contents

Supporting Cast
Starters, Soups, Sides, Stuffing, Sauces and Gravies

The Main Performance
We’re not just talking turkey, baby!

La Dolce Vita
Because Life should always be sweet!

Time for a Tipple
Always Happy Hour somewhere, right?

Feeding a Crowd
Canapés and other party food for the planned and uninvited guests!

Gifts from the Kitchen
The way to anyone’s culinary heart!

Menu Suggestions
And Basic Recipes, because we pay attention to detail!

Available on Kindle on your favourite Amazon site: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon AUS.

Bon appétit!

Chocolate Chip Cake

Are you a fan of chocolate chip cookies? Well, this cake is going to knock your socks off!

It’s moist and spongy, with a touch of cinnamon and crunchy chocolate chips! Simple to make and it doesn’t take much time, which makes it a perfect treat for unexpected guests. I made it for a colleague for her birthday couple of weeks ago and everybody in my office loved it! Now I have to make another batch 😀

Chocolate Chip Cake 2

Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 3 eggs – refrigerated
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 10 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips – around 250 g divided in two

Preparation

Mix the eggs with the electric mixer on high speed with sugar and vanilla extract until foamy.
Add melted butter and sour cream and keep mixing until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture and mix until combined.

Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and pour in half the batter. Sprinkle with one portion of chocolate chips and 1 tsp of cinnamon.
Pour the remaining batter and sprinkler with the rest of the chocolate chips and cinnamon.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 min on 350 °F.

Enjoy 🙂