January 26, 2016

Omi's German Apple Cake
parties bring together laughter, crazy dancing, good friends, great food and even better desserts! Which is why, on my wishlist of the perfect evening, my Omi's German Apple Cake takes top priority. Found whilst leafing through a cake-splattered, butter-battered Liberty's recipe book and handwritten in blue biro, inked on a browning page since September 1989, this was my kind of cake for a winter evening of great company. 

When I was little, I would visit my Omi weekly, more so to take out her silver tea set of teapot, cups and saucers which I'd fill to the brim with water and serve up among Sapphire's "Gold Collection" of Butter Cookies. Even now, I can taste the metallic rim of the cups as I sipped and enjoyed an afternoon of make-believe "tea" and biscuits. However, one immense treat was a traditional German Apple Cake which my Omi would make it her tiny, dark kitchen with the beige linoleum flooring and I came to love it more and more as the years flew by. 

The recipe has been in the family for as long as I can remember and having passed hands to my mum who took note of the recipe and recreates this delicious teatime cake for weekends, roasts and dinner parties, has finally made it's way to me. I added dollaps of sweet-salty dulce de leche to the apples which creates the undeniably irresistable caramel-apple flavour, to warm the palette on a cold winter night. Moist, dense and crammed with grated apple, this butter cake is delicious served with whipped double cream laced with vanilla sugar and a flood of white icing. 

I owe the beautiful Prunelle Grise for my props - she really is the Queen of brocante! Make this cake for your favourite friends and family for a party evening like no other. 


January 07, 2016

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels
who can take a sunrise / Sprinkle it with dew / Cover it with chocolate / And a miracle or two / The candy man / The candy man can. My beautiful American colleague brought back suitcases of Trader Joe's peppermint pretzels to the impatient requests of us Brits. With eyes googling and tongues lolling, the crispy rustle of a red packet emerged from her handbag. Heads turned. The click of a keyboard ceased. Sweet candy-coated air burst from the bag and drifted through the office, desk by desk.

I decided that this could not be an all-American affair. Christmas might be over but my tastebuds were tingling for the flavour of festive treats! A last sugar rush before the new year fully engulfed me. The red and white spiral of a peppermint candy cane and the salted twisted knot of crunchy pretzels made their way home with me alongside a baton of white chocolate. 

This very simple recipe is beautiful to give as a gift, wrapped up with ribbon and love. Dip salted pretzels in glistening melted white chocolate and then sprinkle with splintered peppermint candy canes. Leave to set and refrigerate before cramming full cellophane bags for the ultimate chocolate dream.