Thursday, January 16, 2014

Viennese Sandwich biscuits with Chestnut Ganache cream

I am not really fond of chestnuts. They have a nice nutty flavour but there's also a but of sweetness and blandness in them and because of that I can't say they are a favourite. For the same reason I still got a can of chestnut purée in my cupboard and that was one very hard to obtain, I remember, some time ago, as it is only available around Christmas. (Quite like the ready pumpkin purée that can be found around Halloween and then almost impossible.)
I have been looking for ideas what to do with the chestnut purée as it's expiry date was round the corner and throwing away food is just so wrong. First I was musing about some easy recipe like putting in entire can into a dough and probably bake cupcakes but I soon realised I wouldn't like the result quite as much as I expected, and throwing away food that I have spent time cooking is even wronger.
It became apparent that chestnut purée will work best in a creamy environment and more like so with chocolate. So I gave up the plans for a quiet, fuss-free and washing-up free creation. It had to be done the passionate way - with a result to die for. The chestnut purée was about to become a rich dark chocolate ganache and chestnut purée whipped cream!
The other part was easy - my favourite biscuits that I quite miss since I am in the UK - the soft yet crumbly shortbread biscuits sandwiched with cream are not too popular here. I was able to find some under the name of Viennese swirls in Waitrose though, just to remember how much I like them and to confirm tat these are my favourite biscuits of all. Of course I had to make chocolate Viennese swirls to join together with my chestnut and chocolate ganache - heaven!
I had a batch of piping bags ready and that made the whole process a bit cleaner. The swirl biscuits are relatively easy to make - the only thing to consider is to leave enough space between them as they will expand and flatten a bit during baking. Otherwise no freezing or chilling required unlike other shortbread recipes.
I made these the day before and oh, on the next morning! The cream had soften the biscuits a bit more and the flavours blended well together - yes, these definitely are a favourite!

Viennese biscuits with Chestnut Ganache Cream


(makes around 40 individual biscuits)
50 g icing sugar
250 g soft butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
230 g plain flour
20 g cocoa
50 g corn flour


Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and add the flour and cocoa. At that stage knead with hands until the dough is soft enough. I used a piping bag with a nozzle attached but though that a cookie press might work better as the dough is a bit hard. However it will soften a bit more in the process.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and squeeze the piping bag to make the roses. Arrange them with at least an inch space between them.
Bake immediately (without putting them in the fridge) at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Chestnut and dark chocolate ganache

Cream is enough for two doses of biscuits - so reduce by half or keep  in the fridge and use within a week.


200 ml double cream
150 g dark chocolate
400 g chestnut purée
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Heat the double cream but don't let it boil. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate pieces into it. Keep stirring gently until dissolves. Leave to cool down, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Beat the chestnut purée with/or without some sugar. Beat the cooled ganache with the mixer for a minute and add the chestnut purée. Add the vanilla essence and continue to beat until homogeneous.

Join the ready biscuits with the cream.
They will taste even better on the next day.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Christmas tree marshmallows for minted hot chocolate

Last year I made my first marshmallows - they were vanilla-flavoured and rolled in shredded coconut and cut in cubic shapes to mimic igloo blocks. That was for my son's Pingu themed birthday party last summer.
The marshmallows was quite a success and for me - relatively easy and straightforward to make. So they have been on my to cook list for quite a while.
Last Christmas I was thinking of a drink gift for the teachers and came up with the idea of mint-flavoured hot chocolate with marshmallows. Then the image of a hot cup of warm chocolate with floating green Christmas-tree marshmallows inside just popped into my mind and I knew what I was going to make.
Besides mint and chocolates are one of my top flavours for chocolate.
So here we go - I got the mini-Christmas tree cookie cutter I've got (I've got lots of cookies cutters) out of the cookie cutter storing box, prepared the gelatine, sugar and the mint essence, put the mixer on stand by and rolled up my sleeves.

The time needed until leaving the marshmallow mixture to dry is about 15-20 minutes. Setting time might take between 6 hours to overnight.
Well, cutting the actual shape of the marshmallows is a bit fiddly as they are stubbornly sticky and I had to wash the cutter every 5-6 cut shapes. So the final time would vary.


Covers one 30x40 cm raised-edge oven tray - the thickness of the marshmallows is about 0.5 cm. If you need them thicker - use a smaller and deeper dish.

114 g powdered gelatin
90 ml water

1/2 tbsp mint extract
1 cups sugar
75 ml water
100 g golden syrup
1/4 tsp salt

green food colouring
rice four 
confectioner's sugar


Sprinkle the gelatin in the cold water and leave to soak and absorb the water - 10 minutes. Then heat the mixture for a very short period - 1-2 minutes in bain marie or twice for 5 seconds in a microwave oven until it liquefies. Set aside.
In the meantime - the 10 minutes - combine the sugar, water, golden syrup and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil until it reaches the soft ball stage - 115 degrees C. 
Remove from heat and transfer to a bigger bowl. Add the liquefied gelatin and start mixing with a hand mixer at high speed for some 8 minutes. The mixture will expand absorbing air and change colour to opaque white and consistency to light and fluffy. At that stage add the mint extract and the colouring.

Line a the biscuit tray with parchment paper and spray with oil.
Transfer the mixture to the tray and leave for between 6 hours to overnight.
On the next day using oiled cookie cutter cut the desired shapes and roll into mixed rice flour and icing sugar.

Store in airtight container and sprinkle some over your hot chocolate, coffee, or even tea! :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

1-2-3 Easy MedierrAsian Kebab Rice Rolls

mediterrasian spring rolls

Earlier in July this year the annual food bloggers conference - Food Bloggers Connect - celebrated its fifth anniversary in London - it was a great opportunity to meet old and new friends and getting insightful advice on running a food blog from different people related to the food and blogging industries.
It was also a time to learn that kids and plans seriously do not work well together as I was restricted in attending some most of the talks. *Note to self - no more booking full day conferences and events with babies under at least 1.5 years old.
But let's get back to the friends - I got a lovely gift basket from my friend Artemis of Greek food blog Wonderfoodland which included a traditional Greek thing called oxymel. I hadn't tried that before but according to the label it is a very old traditional mixture used to boost health and mentioned in ancient texts of Aristotle, Hippocrates snd Lysias and consists of honey, vinegar, wine, currants and figs. And it can be used as salad dressing - and what salad dressing!

I used it in this fast and easy recipe that combines my favourite flavours of Mediterranean and Asian foods - in the form of Vietnamese rice spring roll wrappers and minted cucumber cubes with fresh tomato salsa, Greek oxymel dressing and spiced pork pieces (any other ready doner kebab meat will do, or omit the meat completely for a vegetarian version).

Of course the wrappers will taste wonderful evven without the oxymel and I don't remember seeing it anywhere in stores in the UK. (I might be wrong.) It would be nice to try and make some own oxymel and I am writing that down for another time.

The freshness comes from the combination of fresh vegetables and mint and the uncooked wrapper - delicious guaranteed.

pork tomato salsa and minted cucumber rice wrap rolls


Makes 15 wraps

1. Cooked seasoned pork peaces - about 200 g (for convenience use kebab meat - chicken or lamb)

2. for the tomato salsa:

4 ripe tomatoes - chopped
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 tbsp Greek oxymeli dressing

3. for the cucumber salad:

1 cucumber - chopped
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

And the final ingredient : rice roll wrappers 

The rice rappers are sold in Asian supermarkets and do not requite cooking but only soaking in lukewarm water for 5-10 seconds until soft.
To make the cucumber salad just chop 1 cucumber and mix with fresh chopped mint leaves - set aside.
To make the tomato salsa - combine all the ingredients and set aside.

Heat the meat and start assembling!
You can use the oxymel for dipping if you'd like.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Raw peppers and herbed feta appetisers

herbed feta stuffed mini peppers

Do you remember my strawberry lemonade from a couple of weeks ago? I was complaining then of the relatively low temperatures that did not translate summer but middle spring. I was hoping for some more sunshine, clear skies, flip flops and spaghetti straps and here they are - the record high temperatures hit London and England in general - finally a proper summer with temperatures nearing and surpassing 30 degrees - I am happy!

However that heat might stay longer - apparently it would be there for a month - not such a good news for a lot of people. So I am coming to the rescue with my next several posts with foods that will help you bear the heat better.

I am planning to do a top 10 or top 5 of refreshing summer drinks (non alcoholic) to help you survive through the hot season - all foods and drinks inspired by near and faraway places where people are traditionally faced with excessive heat.  (I will do my best to make this on time but you know having kids can be one of the most stressful experiences in life and what I've learned the hard way is that plans and schedule does not work well together with kids. And multitasking on a 24/7 shift for years can be well, tiring.)

Let me start with these stuffed mini red peppers - the title says it all. We used to have feta stuffed
green peppers as a summer snack back at home - it's easy, fast, packed with vitamins and nutrients and no carbs at all.
Eating raw unprocessed foods means all nutrients are consumed at their best without any loss of the good stuff as happens when boiling, frying or baking.
Feta cheese will provide the essential proteins to the mix and fresh herbs as coriander or parsley or even dill are a natural guilt free way to add more taste and flavour.

herbed feta stuffed mini peppers

All you need in a glance!


200 g sweet mini peppers
100 g crumbles of feta cheese
About 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Optional - 1 clove of garlic - mashed

atuffed mini peppers


Wash the peppers and discard the tops - discard anynseeds and membranes hay might have.
Combine the feta cheese, chopped coriander leaves and garlic to a paste. Stuff the peppers with the paste and enjoy!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Goldfish cheese crackers

goldfish crackers

 For my son's birthday which was Pingu-themed my friend from Lollipop Sweet Ideas who was doing the papers and sweet table design suggested I put some golden fish crackers with a label "Feed the Penguins"That was a great idea, the only problem was that no fish crackers can be found in the UK, so I just had to make them. The fish shape cutter proved to be a problem as well as I was not very happy to pay ten bucks on a fish cutter (+postage) but thankfully I came across a tutorial how to make your own cookie cutter from an empty can, so that's what we did! And it wasn't in any way difficult or complicated! The recipe for the fish crackers is easy as well - it's the simplest ever - only three ingredients - butter, cheese and flour. Now to make the fishes slightly orange I used Red Leicester cheese.

  red leicester fish crackers

 So here is my Recipe:

Gold Fish crackers with Red Leicester

 (yields: depending on the size - mine was miniature to medium (2.5-3 cm)- around 60)

170 g Red Leicester cheese - grated 
70 g softened unsalted butter 
100 g plain flour 
 optional - black sesame seeds or caraway seeds to use as eyes. 


Combine all products into a homogeneous ball. Roll a 0.5 cm layer on a lightly floured surface and cut shapes with the cutter. Make the remaining dough into a ball again and repeat. Do this until there is no more dough left. 
If the dough is difficult to cut because it is too soft - put in the fridge covered in plastic bag for 20-30 minutes then proceed. 
If using seeds for eyes - pinch them into the shapes right before they go into the oven. Place the cracker shapes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes on 170 degrees. 

 That's it! Very easy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade


It's mid June already and the British summer is still difficult to spot. It's breezy, quite cool, rainy and sunshine is scarce and sporadic. And so the piles of suncream tubes and bottles in the stores look a bit out of proportion.

But the summer is somewhere out there - you can sense it by the people wearing sleeveless tops, cropped pants and shorts, flip flops and sandals, picnic rugs and of course by the smell of British strawberries which are finally in season.

It's finally that time of the year when the strawberries have conquered the stores piled in their neat little punnets and bursting with fragrance, colour and flavour. It's even more astonishing when compared to the rest of the *seasonal* fruit which, let's face it, are like made of plastic - no taste, no fragrance.

But strawberries are different - they are real and at their best at the moment - they just have to be enjoyed.
And why not try a all natural summery refreshing drink with a hope to attract the summer? I am talking about strawberry lemonade.


It can be served over ice and sweetened with brown sugar or honey to taste with a slice of lime for its exotic warming aroma which always reminds me of a hint of cinnamon.

Do give it a go!


Strawberry Lemonade

(serves 6-8)

300 g fresh strawberries
the freshly squeezed juice of 6 medium lemons (or 4 large) 
1/2 cup light golden sugar
1.250 l water
fresh mint leaves 
1-2 limes to garnish 



Squeeze the lemons and blend the strawberries in a blender. Dissolve the sugar in the water.
Combine the lemon juice, water and strawberries in a bowl and stir until homogeneous.
Decorate with the mint leaves and limes.
Serve over ice or with pieces of fresh strawberries. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Coconut Marshmallows for a special birthday

Coconut marshmallows

Ever since I read an extensive article about making home-made marshmallows in Delicious magazine, I wanted to make some. But without a sugar thermometer and not enough free time for experiments I kept them in my recipe wish list for the blog for quite some time.

The time to make them finally came last May. My son's birthday party had to be Pingu themed as this was the most memorable thing he's been a fan of for the past year. So maintaining the tradition from previous years, here we go with Penguin and ice themed birthday at the end of May. But ice and summer (even the British summer) are actually a very good combination - thinking of ice cream. There ware lots of ice cream  and sprinkles and decorations and toppings and generally ice cream madness.

The marshmallows were the perfect pick for igloo blocks I thought - and was right.
I just could not resist the cute fluffy airy deliciousness of this home made treat. They are not very complicated to make provided you're not afraid to deal with gelatin, sugar thermometer and boiling sugar syrup in the same time.

A note to myself  - they were overtly sweet - so I shall be looking for a way to reduce sugar or reduce the size although this size worked perfectly for my igloo building blocks idea.

Coconut marshmallows

Coconut coated Vanilla Marshmallows


(makes around 45 big squares - so could be easily halved)
I adapted Brownie Points basic marshmallows recipe adjusting the sugar contents but it still was too sweet - something to work out next time.

28 g powdered gelatin
180 ml water (or other liquid - like cocnut milk)

1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
150 ml water
200 g golden syrup
1/2 tsp salt

rice four 
confectioner's sugar
200 desiccated coconut


First prepare the gelatin - sprinkle the gelatin in the cols water or liquid and leave to soak and absorb the water - 10 minutes. Then heat the mixture for a very short period - 1-2 minutes until it liquefies and set aside.
In the meantime - the 10 minutes - combine the sugar, water, golden syrup and salt in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to the boil until it reaches the soft ball stage - 115 degrees C. 
Remove from heat and transfer to a bigger bowl. Add the liquefied gelatin and start mixing with a hand mixer at high speed for between 8 and 10 minutes. The mixture will expand absorbing air and change colour to opaque white and consistency to light and fluffy. At that stage add the vanilla extract and in case you are adding some colouring that is the time.

Line a mould with parchment paper and spray with oil. I also sprinkled some desiccated coconut to allow easy release. 
Transfer the white mixture to the mould and leave overnight.
On the next day using oiled knife cut wide strips and then make cubes.

The cues are going to be very sticky so very quickly coat in the desiccated coconut and icing sugar (and/or corn flour - I didn't use corn flour this time.) 
The marshmallows are in their best condition kept in an airtight container for 5-6 days.

Coconut marshmallows

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pomegranate Curd Bars with Seedy Pine Nuts Crust - and a Baby Shower!

My friend Zita Nagy who I met in 2011 during the Food Blogger Connect in London welcomed her first child - a cute baby boy - yesterday! What great news! Congratulations Zita and Ivan! May you little treasure Adam be a happy healthy little bundle of joy to his parents!

Together with other food blogger friends we decided to throw a surprise baby shower for her but we are slightly fashionably late now :)

 Zita's blog Zizi's adventures (in English and Hungarian) is specialised in vegetarian and vegan cooking and shares healthy recipes combining fresh produce and raw foods. Her blog and she herself is a big inspiration to me to stay on track and include more raw foods in our diet. She's also a wonderful person and I am very happy to know her.
This year she and her boyfriend are experiencing a great life changing moment - welcoming their first child and jumping into the wonderful experience of being parents.

Parenting is one of a kind experience -  it's moving, ecstatic, exhilarating, energising and empowering but exhausting in the same time too. It makes you go to lengths you never expected you're capable of,
it constantly asks you to learn new skills and improve old ones, makes you a better teacher and sets you on a path to become a better person.
And at the end of the day it's totally gonna be worth it.

Zita and Ivan, I know you are going to be great parents and I wish you lots of happiness, wisdom and feeling of fulfilness in your new role. Congratulations!

As Zita is one of the healthiest food loving persons I know, my recipe for the baby shower includes lots of seeds, almond butter and to be true to myself - pomegranate molasses and rose water.

pomegranate curd bars

Pomegranate has been a symbol of fertility, abundance and prosperity in a number of world cultures and in Christianity is linked with resurrection and eternal life.
I really love its sweet-sour taste, that some people might find too sour, and for me it is like both sides of parenting, so I thought that would be the perfect choice.

Here are the rest of the recipes from the little belated virtual baby shower:

The wonderful Tuscan Sweet Zucchini Cake Scarpaccia from Giulia of Jul's Kitchen
The new mom's friendly Nourishing Stout & Oat Drink  from Regula aka Miss Foodwise

The fabulous Cheese Pie from Εpirus Kasopita from Artemis of Woderfoodland

Simone: The heavenly fragrant Pistache Raspberry Cakes from Simone of JungleFrog Cooking 
The veggie blissful Fresh Pea Souffle with Goat Cheese from Karin, the mastermind behind the baby shower and Yum and More 

And that's my recipe

pine nuts pumpkin and sunflower seeds pomegranate curd bars

Pomegranate curd Seedy bars with a hint of Rose Water


for the crust:

100 g whole pine nuts
50 g whole pumpkin seeds
50 g whole sunflower seeds
100 g breakfast oats
170 g almond butter
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp rose water

for the curd:

10 egg yolks
200 g honey
150 ml pomegranate molasses
70 ml pure pomegranate juice
juice of 2 lemons
200 g butter - cubed
50 ml rose water

pomegranate curd


For the crust:

Combine all seeds together with the almond butter and the pomegranate molasses - knead well with your hands. Finally add the rose water to the sticky mix. Press it flat on a lined rectangular tin and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. 
Set aside and leave to cool down completely. 

In a bowl mix the liquid ingredients and the honey and put over a pan of simmering water until the honey dissolves completely. 
Transfer to a sauce pan with a thick bottom and incorporate the egg yolks mixing with a whisk on medium heat. Whisk continuously to prevent lumps from forming until the mix starts to thicken - about 20-30 minutes .
The mix will still stay quite liquid and will set more with tie and as it cools down.
Remove from heat and add the butter cubes one by one. 
Leave to cool down for 15 minutes in a fridge.

Top the seedy crust with the pomegranate curd and bake in a 180 degrees C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave to cool down (it will be quite liquid) and leave it to cool and then keep in fridge overnight. On the next day cut rectangular shapes with a sharp knife. 

pine nuts pumpkin and sunflower seeds pomegranate curd bars

pine nuts pumpkin and sunflower seeds pomegranate curd bars

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hidden Egg cake for Easter - a Success and a Failure

easter egg hidden cake

I admit I was a bit carried away by the enormous possibilities that the hidden cake technique allows. My idea for another hidden cake was to hide colourful eggs inside. I had the egg cookie cutter shape already (I must confess here I've got lots of cookie cutter but am more a cake person than a cookie person I'm afraid. So hidden cakes are perfect for me.) What I needed more was cake in four different colours and I was thinking of yellow, green, red and blue.
For the yellow and green eggs I was to use shapes cut out from the leftover better from the cake I already made - the hidden chick one.
So I needed blue and red colours. I thought of blueberries for the blue and beetroot for the red.
And that's where the failure happened.
Staring with the beetroot - I made a paste of cooked beetroot and a very little bit of warm water. However, I had the impression beetroot is very colouring so I decided to use it gradually until I get the required colour - that was  exactly 2 tbsp. The batter had a very nice dark pink shade and I happily put it in the oven. It had a pinkish crust too so I expected to see a light pink inside. But the result was pure yellow on the inside - a mystery. I either used not enough of the paste or something went wrong between the batter ingredients and the beetroot. Still needs improvement.
The blueberries idea did not work either so I thought I should use a little bit of blue food colouring this time and mix it with part of the pink (from the beetroot) batter. It went violet as expected.
Until baked - when the colour was blue-green ... a total mystery if you ask me. Still not sure how that happened.
So I should either use much higher quantities - as with the spinach from previous cake, or I should change the colouring agent.
However, I could go only with the green and yellow eggs anyway. (I did put the blue one too though).

easter egg hidden cake

For encasing the eggs I thought of a chocolate pound cake and adapted a recipe. I was lucky to have some Valrhona Dutch-process raw cocoa powder (read all you need to know about cocoa powder on David Leibovitz's post) to give it a really chocolaty feel.

The quantity I used are for two cakes, although I have to admit the second cake got less batter and had different shape as the cut out eggs were not well covered under the batter.
I believe if there is no second cake inserted the quantity will be well enough for a one pound tin.

The recipe is adapted from the Mango pound cake and Joy of Baking's Pound cake .

Chocolate pound cake for encasing a hidden cake 
(makes two loaves)


4 medium eggs
170 g sugar
100 g butter at room temperature
4 tbsp milk
160 g self raising flour
25 g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one beating with a mixer for 20-30 seconds after each.
Finally add the flour and vanilla essence and mix with a mixer for 15-20 seconds until well incorporated. If needed finish by hand.

Assembling the hidden cake:

easter egg hidden cake

easter egg hidden cake

Line a cake tin with baking paper. lay a very thin layer of the batter on the bottom and place the cut out forms closely one behind the other. 
Cover with the batter up to almost entirely covering the forms, just a very little of the top can be left peeking. Spoon over the cut out egg forms so their tops are covered with the batter too.

Bake at 160 C fan n oven (180 C) for exactly 30 minutes. Leave on a wire rack to cool.

Sprinkle some icing sugar and cocoa powder on top or don't. It's great both ways! 
Happy faces guaranteed when you cut!

easter egg hidden cake

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hidden chick cake for Easter

easter chick hidden cake

I learned two totally unexpected things through these this cakes.

First, there is a spinach cake and it tastes great!
And second - you can twice bake a cake! (well, partly)

Let me tell you more about it!

1.Have you ever believed that spinach can be used for sweet dishes? I personally didn't have even the slightest idea. However making the Ombre cake recently made me think about food colouring and what can be done to use natural dyes - I was thinking particularly about green. It could be done using a lot of matcha of course but I wanted to give the cake to kids and too much green tea seemed inappropriate  so I thought about spinach instead. The idea seemed quite crazy to me but knowing that nothing is really invented and everything new is a well forgotten old thing I thought I should google that crazy idea and check if someone had already done it.  I wanted to specifically check how green the green colour would be.
Well for my enormous surprise - there was that recipe! It's a Turkish cake recipe Ispanakli kek (Spinach cake) and I couldn't be happier. That's the recipe I need. The colour looked pretty intense and the texture seemed great (And in reality it looks exactly as on the photos).
The spinach taste is there only immediately after baking and is completely disappeared a couple of hours ago.  After baking I realised the cake was too sweet to my taste, I could happily go with 1/3 less sugar so I should adjust that next time I bake.
Concerning quantity - it was a bit more than I needed for the specific cake I was making, so for hidden cake probably half should do fine, or it will make two 1 lb loaves.

2.Bake a cake and then bake it some more? How crazy *that* sounds?
Yes, it is possible and trending at the moment and no, the part that is already baked does not go harder.
To make it you need two cakes of different colours and a cookie cutter. You also need some free time.
The possibilities are endless!

With the approaching Easter I thought of a hidden Easter chick cake and a hidden Easter egg cake. I did both!

For the hidden Easter chick I chose to use green and yellow cakes. The green one is a spinach cake and for the second one I did a mango pound cake. (This one was also too sweet - next time maximum 200 g sugar).

easter chick hidden cake

Easter green hidden chick cake 
(makes 4 cakes)

for the mango pound cake: (from Parita's World)
makes 2 loaves or one very big and one smaller

3 medium eggs
200 g sugar 
113 g butter - soft at room temperature
1/2 medium sized mango peeled and the pulp pureed 
250 g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs (I did all at once) and beat with the mixer for about two minutes. Add the mango puree and mix well, then the butter and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 15-20 seconds and finish by hand if not homogeneous.
Fill in paper-lined loaf cake tin(s) or flat tins to 2/3 of the height and bake for 45-50 minutes at 180 degrees C or 160 C fan oven.
Remove from oven, leave to cool on a rack and when well cool slice thickly and cut out forms using a cookie cutter. 

The cut out forms should be aligned one behind the other in the tin like this.

 And then covered with the second cake batter for Spinach cake.

easter chick hidden cake

for the Spinach cake: (from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook)

3 medium eggs
200 g sugar
300 g spinach leaves stalks on - blended with 50-70 ml hot water to fine puree
100 ml light olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
310 g self-raising flour
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


Mix the eggs with sugar. Add the spinach puree, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Finally add the flour and vanilla and mix until homogeneous.
This mixture pour over the prepared cake centres - a baking paper-lined loaf tin with the arranged cut outs of the previous cake. The amount of spinach cake should be 2/3 of the tin height, but in case the cut out forms are sticking out, spoon some cake batter over them to cover. When the cake rises it will hide the entire  forms underneath.

*These products will be enough to make two cakes. Alternatively, half of the mix can be baked in a flat tin to prepare more hidden cake (as I did).

Bake for 30 minutes 180 C or 160 C fan oven. Leave to cool on a rack and wait until completely cool.

Wait to see the kids surprise when they discover the hidden picture :)

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