Thank you SugarLoco

Moment of appreciation

I love baking and doing a lot of cooking in my kitchen, especially now that my kitchen is about to have a new face-lift, it’s so exciting and i know i will spend a lot of time there. But that’s on another post. In the meantime, i wanted to share something…well personal I’d say…you see i started this blog not only because i love to cook but also because of my deep appreciation to my mom’s life lessons…among are many cooking lessons too and honestly, i did not think i will find the time to post my creations often nor did i expect to have feedback. This blog is also a tool for my friends, those who don’t know how to cook, to simply check out my recipes, enjoy the images, remember the food they ate at my house and learn something.

Moment of truth and Thank You

But recently, I got an email informing me that SugarLoco liked my Upside down Apple cake recipe and that they ask permission to share it on their website. Talking about feedback people. I immediately check their site and found out that really, these people are sugar lovers. They love decadent and sweet. It’s a fun website with lots of beautiful pictures and delicious recipes and inspirations. Check them out.

Again, i want to thank SugarLoco for including me in their colorful, delicious and inspiring “real estate”.

Here is a little sweet reminder:

delicious upside down apple cake

My Upside down apple cake/tatin. Yum!

Thank you all for your support.

Bon appetite

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Shockingly delicious upside down upple (Apple) cake

Listen, let me share with you something stupid. In case you feel offensive…by all means don’t take it so seriously.

During my first few years of living in the United States I didn’t know anything about “upside down cooking”. You know what I mean, upside down apple or pineapple cakes of sorts. My mother is Moroccan, there is nothing upside down in her kitchen. I’ve been introduced to upside down cake for the first time in someone’s house, I don’t remember who exactly. The kind lady with a smile on her face handed a piece of cake “here honey, upside down cake for you”. Wondering, I looked at the cake and slowly I tilted my head, literally, to a point where I couldn’t bring it back to its original position…just to look at the cake…upside down. I told you it was stupid.

As the years passed by and I found myself making more mistakes with my baking experiments in different kitchens, in which some of them turned out to be pretty good recipes, I’ve come to know the beauty and creativity of baking upside down cakes. I also realized you can bake anything upside down: fruits, vegetables, even cheese. Did I try it? no.

One of my favorite upside down cake makers is Elton from Good Eats. You know him. But as much as I love him, he makes me work too much. And me being a spontaneous cook, I like to grab something and make it my way right away.

moist and delicious upside down apple tatin

And simply because it’s not a cake by definition that requires flour and sifting and such, it’s a tart. Which turns this decadent dessert into a French dessert called Tatin. I call it tre bien. Oh, the sound of French. My favorite desserts inspiration in the world.

vanilla bean in moist and delicious upside down apple cake

A beautiful and seductively moist and caramelized upside down apple cake/Tatin served warm with your best home-made hot fresh mint tea.

most and delicious upside down apple tatin
Ok ok vanilla ice cream too. So, shall we:

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1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
5 firm large green apples
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cardamon
1 vanilla bean
4 tsp tap water
juice of one lemon
1/4 stick of butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

additional butter, for greasing

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Preparations:

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease 9″ baking pan with melted butter. Peel and slice apples while removing seeds and cores. Keep slices a little thick. In a large bowl toss slices in lemon juice. Heat a heavy skillet with butter and add the lemon-apple slices, sugar, spices, water and scraped vanilla bean. Stir and cook on medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Mixture should turn smooth and bubbly in a light caramel color. Remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes.
Now here comes the fun part: you can arrange the apples neatly, careful it’s still hot, in the baking pan and you might get two layers of apples which is fine. I arranged only the bottom layer (which is the first one you see), than poured the rest on top. I got a thick pile. I love the rustic look of imperfection in this recipe. It has its own beauty.
Now, on a floured surface roll out the thawed pastry sheet to a size inch larger than the baking pan. Do not roll it too thin, keep it slightly thick for “cushion”. Trim edges or tuck them down between the pan and the apples and lightly brush with melted butter. Bake 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. If too much liquid is left at the button of the pan carefully pour most of it into a heat-proof glass jar but leave some in the pan. This delicious ooze may be drizzled later on a sliced upside down cake for extra sweetness, or on your morning toasted waffle. YUMM! did you think about that? guess not. That’s why I’m here.

For assembly: take a large beautiful serving platter and place it upside down over the pan. You’re gonna have to work quickly and carefully, it’s hot!, invert the cake over the platter. If your apples have shifted easily move them back with a fork. And there you have it.

Sharing and caring is cool…but you might not get seconds 🙂

Bon appetite

Delicious and creative sugar-free and dairy-free flower cake

This is going to be the tastiest, simplest, creative and most attention getter flower cake you will ever make (yes Flower not Flour).
It’s perfect for a birthday, Mother’s Day or even Father’s Day (men like flower too you know), Or any day.
flower cake for mother's day
Sugar free dessert
And it’s so simple to make I wanna laugh. Actually I’m laughing now.
But seriously, I can’t stop giggle when the results look like a Million Euros.

How did i get to this idea? I always keep Phyllo pastry sheets in my freezer. It’s the thing that makes baking beautiful and light when you don’t want to eat “cake”. So last week I gave my husband a cool birthday party in our backyard. All the sleepless nights and the pain in my back and the hard work  in the kitchen was it worth it? let’s not think about it right now.

So I got the food and the atmosphere ready BUT I didn’t have any birthday cake. It can only happen in my house. I took a risk (big one) and left the cake idea to the last-minute, the day of the party. You see, waiting to the last-minute makes me come up with some crazy ideas (not necessarily good ones), that make them so great only because i don’t give myself a chance to think about it.
But here is the catch, I had a great last-minute idea but had to repeat it 30 times because we had about 30 invites.

sugar free mother's day cakeI know what you’re thinking just by looking at the preparations, but when I got to it i ran with it and in less than an hour I was already with 24 cakes ready to bake. The best thing about this cake is that you can choose to make one, two, four or fifty cakes. Can this be more flexible? If yes please – share.

So, shall we:

ingredients:
(this recipe is for 12 or more since the muffin tin I used has 12 cup holes)
One package Phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
1/4 cup honey
1 vanilla bean
2 tbsp of your favorite espresso coffee powder and some more for garnish
1 pint heavy whipping cream (I used dairy-free)
1 tbsp light brown sugar crystals
Fresh thinly sliced strawberries
Canola oil baking spray
Muffin cupcake pan for 12 (2 1/2 inch each)
preparations:
Heat oven to 350º. In a large bowl combine heavy cream, espresso powder, honey and vanilla. Beat until stiff. You’ll know when you see the cream stays on a spoon turned upside down. Refrigerate until use.
Spray muffin pan with baking spray, set aside. Lay out one sheet Phyllo and spray with oil, make sure the rest of the sheets are covered with a damp towel to avoid them from drying. Repeat with more Phyllo sheets greased and laid one on top of the other. I used batches of five’s.
How to cut – with scissors carefully eye-ball the size of the “cakes” – first cut the sheets in half horizontally from one side to another and then cut in three sections vertically, you’ll end up with six rectangular “cakes”. It shouldn’t be complicated.

Insert each “section” into the greased muffin cups by pressing gently and forming a cup. You’ll end up having the edges of the “cakes” sticking up and out – You want that.

sugar free dairy free cupcakes dessertsugar free dairy free cupcake dessert

Sprinkle cups with brown sugar and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden. Out of the oven, handling with care remove the baked cups with a spoon and set aside to cool.

If you have a pastry bag use it otherwise with a spoon fill up the cups with the chilled  cream. Stick a couple of sliced strawberries on the side to make them look like leafs, sprinkle with powdered coffee and brown sugar.

Serve in personal dessert plates or to really get your guests attention place all the cakes in one large tray to create a big flower composed of small ones. It will sparkle and I guarantee you – they will be impressed.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY