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Cinnamon pull-apart bread

November 13, 2017

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If there is one thing I have learned within the past few years, it is this: Creativity requires a relaxed state of mind.

That holds true for science, where I reached my limits in finding creative solutions to answering questions in times when the sum of private life & education/work-dependent stress got overwhelming, as well as for baking and – of course, blogging.

Writing something unique, telling an interesting story does not come along by itself. At least for me, blogging relies on a calmness, enabling me not only to focus but also to unlock my passion about baking, cooking and good food. A couple of years in which I was constantly busy with education, part-time jobs, a permanent lack of time (and sleep) and trying to squeeze in some personal life in between, made me realize how valuable some relaxed time is – for happiness and health as well as for being productive in a creative way. Whenever I tried to put a story behind a recipe into words in the past years, I failed, feeling unable to phrase whatever experiences or emotions I was trying to convey. So after finishing my Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine this fall, I found myself with more than 50 unfinished drafts of blogposts, containing recipes fit for all seasons of the year, of which I certainly will share some with you in the upcoming months.

In fact, the recipe I’m sharing with you today was written down approximately one year ago, in fall of 2016. At that time I was pretty occupied with my studies, having exams every other week altering with presentations of my lab project and the usual madness of juggling classes and lab work. In addition, my flatmate and I had just moved and were in the middle of renovating the flat we were living in, which meant no clean floors until we had put them in, a weekend without hot water in October, and living out of our suitcases for quite a few weeks, just to give a brief insight. Taken together, that was a pretty nerve-wracking time for me, and at the point where we finally had functioning kitchen again, baking appeared to be one of the greatest luxuries.

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Some long time ago, I wrote a Sunday’s Seven post about my favorite breakfasts. One of these was – and still is – this delicious cinnamon pull-apart bread. Over the past years, I tried different versions for veganizing the recipe, and the first approach I took last year in our new kitchen was really satisfying. Sweet, soft slices with slightly crispy edges, accompanied by the heart-warming scent of cinnamon, so simple but oh-so-good comfort food. And perfectly fit to ease your heart and soul, to conquer cold, rainy and grey mornings or stressful times.

Cinnamon pull-apart bread
makes one loaf, adapted from here 
Ingredients:
500g all-purpose flour
50g + 150g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 package (7g) dry yeast
250 mL vanilla soy milk (plain soy milk should also work fine, you could add a little vanilla or vanilla sugar when using plain soy milk)
2 tsps. vinegar
50g + 100g + some vegan butter, softened
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • Add vinegar to the vanilla soy milk, stir and set aside.
  • Mix flour, 50g sugar, a pinch of salt and dry yeast in a large bowl.
  • Melt 50g vegan butter, add to dry ingredients. Add vanilla soy milk mix as well and knead everything into a nice, smooth dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and butter a loaf pan, mine was approximately 20 cm long.
  • Mix 150g sugar with 2 tsps. ground cinnamon.
  • Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough. Spread with 100g vegan butter and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Cut dough into squares and stack them vertically into the prepared loaf pan. (I find that it does not matter if the individual slices are put together in a slightly messy way, it rather gives the loaf some character and enhances the fun of pulling it apart later on! :))
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until slightly brown and crispy at the edges and enjoy while still warm! 🙂

 

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pop-up bakery next Saturday!

August 1, 2016

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I am happy to announce the August edition of kawaii kitchen pop-up bakery! ^_^ Find your favorite cupcakes at Lindener Market in Hanover next Saturday – drop by for some:

Matcha Cupcakes
Blueberry Hazelnut Cupcakes
Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes
Mango Basil Cupcakes
and the most crumbly, delicious brown “butter” peach shortbread. With lots of streusel!

All baked with lots of love and 100% plant-based ingredients, as usual 🙂

facebook event here – the exact location where to find your cupcake will be posted here 😉

Celebrating summer – Rhubarb Guglhupf with Ginger Icing

June 22, 2016

rhubarb gugl 06About one year ago, I graduated from my Bachelor’s program. Guess what the first thing I did afterwards was – yep, you’re right: it was baking. After all these long days in the lab, baking without time pressure and smelling and tasting freshly harvested ingredients again was so fulfilling!

At the farmer’s market, I had found some of that year’s first rhubarb, so I made a rhubarb cake for welcoming summer. Drizzled with a ginger-spiced icing on top, this “Guglhupf” is sweet, sour and fruity with a little refreshing spiciness – the perfect accompaniment for a morning coffee or afternoon lemonade on a sunny summer day.

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By now, I’ve gotten used to spending long days in the lab and managing to squeeze in some time for baking in between. Nevertheless, my “to bake-list” has been growing on and on. This cake is also on the list, and even though I baked it just recently, I certainly want to make again soon, before rhubarb season is over. For celebrating and enjoying summer in all its beautiful and delicious facets, and you should do that, too! 🙂

Rhubarb Guglhupf with Ginger Icing (adapted from “Vegan for Fun” by Attila Hildmann) || vegan
makes one small Guglhupf (about 18 cm diameter) 
Ingredients:
350g rhubarb (should make ~275g when cleaned & peeled)
50g granulated sugar
1 pckg. (300 mL) rice whipping cream, chilled (eg. Soyatoo)
300g all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp. starch
200g raw cane sugar
70 mL soy milk
125g vegan butter, molten + a little more for greasing the cake pan
2-3 tbsps. fine breadcrumbs for coating the cake pan
75g + 75g powdered sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 tsps. ginger,  grated
optional: a few drops of (natural) red food coloring, I like to use red beet juice
  • Clean and peel rhubarb. Cut into ~1cm long pieces. Put into a saucepan together with 50g granulated sugar and bring to a simmer on medium heat while stirring continuosly. When the rhubarb has softened, set aside to let the compote cool down.
  • Preheat oven to 170ºC. Grease a 18cm guglhupf (or bundt cake) pan with vegan butter, then coat with breadcrumbs.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and starch.
  • In another bowl, combine molten vegan butter and soy milk.
  • Whip cold rice cream in a large bowl. After one or two minutes of whipping, start adding raw cane sugar gradually while continue beating until stiff.
  • Add a few tbsps. of the dry ingredients, fold in, then a heap of the liquid ingredients and fold in, as well. Continue folding in dry & wet ingredients alternatingly, and make sure not to overmix the batter. When the dough is all combined, add rhubarb compote and distribute just very roughly with a few streaks.
  • Fill batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. If necessary, cover with aluminium foil after ~30min to prevent too much browning of the surface.
  • Test with a wooden skewer if the cake is done and if yes, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes on a wire cooling rack before carefully (!) turning the pan upside down to remove the cake from its pan.
  • For the icing, combine 75g powdered sugar with 1 tsp. lemon juice and (if desired) a few drops of red food coloring. Add just enough water to make a thick icing. In a second bowl, combine 75g of powdered sugar with 1 tsp. grated ginger and also just enough water to make a thick icing. Taste and if desired, add more of the ginger.
  • Drizzle white icing on top of the cake, then the pink icing on top. Let cool completely before cutting into slices. Enjoy!

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Announcement: kawaii kitchen pop-up bakery vol. 5

May 24, 2016

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As part of a (belated) restaurant day, kawaii kitchen is hosting its 5th pop-up bakery at Lindener Markt, Hannover this Saturday starting at 8 a.m.! This time there will be:

Rhubarb-filled Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Mango & Vanilla Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Lemon Rosemary Cupcakes

and additionally: the most delicious, crumbly & sweet mini pecan pies

As always, all baked goods are 100% vegan and made with lots of love!
So come along, have a bite and enjoy 🙂

Find the Facebook event here

Apple crumble cake

March 21, 2016

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Spring is slowly approaching, even here in Berlin. In between grey and rainy days there are glimpses of the earliest colorful flowers detectable as well as the warmth of the first few sunny afternoons. With the fading grey, a new spirit of life also seems to return, which makes me kinda happy and feel alive again!

My past winter has been a bit stressful and due to the lack of sunshine also depressing – something I still haven’t overcome ever since moving to Germany (although in general I am very happy to be here!). For brightening up that gloomy mood, I baked apple cake a lot during the past months. Even though there was not too much time for baking left next to lab & uni, this cake appeared on our flat share’s kitchen table more than a few times – and disappeared quite quickly again, as well.

This cake is very easy to make and still so satisfying – a yummy, crumbly treat filled with juicy apples. It is a very nice option to use up the last of the season’s apples, or simply to bring color into another rainy day as long as we’re still waiting for summer!

Apple crumble cake
makes a 28cm diameter cake || adapted from here
Ingredients:
1 small, not too ripe banana
350g all-purpose flour
200g vegan butter, cold
100g + 2 tbsps. granulated sugar
8-10 apples, depending on the size
4 tbsps. water
1-2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • Clean the apples and cut them into pieces. Mix them with water, 2 tbsps. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and cook them into a compote on low to medium heat. Try and if desired, add more cinnamon to taste.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.
  • Mash the banana with a fork and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, 100g sugar and vegan butter. Add mashed banana and knead until just combined. Do not overknead, otherwise the batter might get too firm.
  • Line a 28cm diameter cake pan with baking paper. Roll out approximately 1/3 of the dough or simply press into the pan, forming a crust surrounded by a 2-3 cm edge.
  • Fill the apple compote into the cake crust and crumble remaining dough on top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until crumbs start to get golden brown.

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Valentine’s day cupcakes: Red velvet with a sweet coconut frosting

February 13, 2016

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Ever since the hype around red velvet cakes came up (a looong time ago), I had been intrigued to try them out. The fact that every recipe used huge amounts of food coloring made the whole thing a little less appealing to me though. Nevertheless, I gave one of the chocolate versions a first try a couple of years ago – and was super disappointed. I had expected a sophisticated, velvet-y taste, but all that recipe I tried resulted in was a kind of bland chocolate cake in a slightly red-brownish shade.

As I always try to use mostly natural ingredients, I did not further pursue in that direction of red velvet cakes. Instead, when I had a beet lying around last week, I decided to give natural food coloring a shot. The first round of cupcakes turned out to be a little bit too juicy, but after some adaptions, the second batch were very nice – bright red, oh so velvet-y cake consistency and tasting satisfyingly good. For this recipe I tried some rather unusual flavor combination: passion fruits, which compliment the earthy tastes of the beet perfectly with their slightly tangy and floral taste. Also, as these are supposed to be a Valentine’s treat, passion is hopefully not misplaced for this occasion 🙂

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If you are happy to have someone to give a present to on Valentine’s Day, these cupcakes are a nice option. Or just make them for yourself, your flatmates, your friends … and enjoy them along with your favorite hot beverage. My current favorite (and recommendation) is matcha latte made with almond rice drink, which fits perfectly to these fruity, yummy cupcakes 🙂

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Red velvet passion fruit & beet cupcakes with coconut frosting
makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
125 g granulated sugar
125 g vegan butter
180 g red beet, cooked
80 g apple
2 small or 1 large passion fruit
220 g all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
120 mL passion fruit juice
  • Bring vegan butter to room temperature and preheat the oven to 165 degrees C/330 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • Puree red beet and apple. Add passion fruit and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whip vegan butter and sugar until creamy. Add all the other ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Divide batter between the paper liners and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
Ingredients for the frosting:
125 mL coconut rice milk
20 g starch
40 g granulated sugar
150 g vegan butter
50 g coconut oil
35 g powdered sugar
optional: shredded coconut, some more powdered sugar and a few drops of red beet juice
  • Combine starch, granulated sugar and 3-4 tbsps. or the coconut rice milk in a small bowl, mix with a spoon until smoothly combined.
  • Heat the remaining coconut rice milk in a saucepan until steaming hot (but not boiling!).
  • Stir in the starch-sugar mixture with a whisk, make sure to whisk continuously while adding the mix (otherwise it might stick to the bottom of the saucepan and burn).
  • Continue heating the mix in the saucepan, stirring until it thickens and becomes what we call a “pudding” here in Germany. Remove from the heat, set aside and let cool completely.
  • In the meantime, bring vegan butter and coconut oil to room temperature. The coconut oil should not become liquid! (If so, put into the redfridgerator until soft, but solid.)
  • (If desired, you could also prepare your pink coconut shreds for decoration now:
    combine 2-3 tbsps of coconut shreds with 2-3 tsps. of powdered sugar and a few drops of red beet juice. Mix and add more of the juice depending on the color you want your decoration to have.)
  • When the “pudding” has cooled completely, put vegan butter and coconut oil into a medium-sized bowl and whip with a handmixer on high speed until all smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and whip again until combined.
  • Next, add the coconut “pudding” one spoon at a time – add one spoon, mix until combined and only then add the next spoonful.
  • You might not need to add all of the pudding, depending on how strong you want the coconut flavor to be – just try and decide for yourself.
  • When the frosting is ready, pipe or spread it on top of your cooled cupcakes and decorate with some coconut shreds, if desired.

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Feel good food: pumpkin soup

January 11, 2016

When I was in 8 or 9 years old, I attended a cooking club at school. One afternoon, we made a delicious, German-style potato soup and I brought home the recipe. As I really liked that soup, my mother started to re-cook this potato soup for my brother and me every now and then. The soup turned out to be a little different each time, depending on what kind of vegetables were available here in Japan and which selection and balance of spices my mother felt like using that day – but delicious it was, always.

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Recently, I started making pumpkin soup on a frequent basis, and like my mother’s potato soup it turns out to be slightly different each time. According to my flatmates, it’s always tasty nevertheless and to me, the soup is comforting feel-good food every time. Although the ingredients can be varied depending on your taste and what you have on hand, the preparation method is always more or less the same, therefore I would like to share the basic recipe with you.

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Note: amounts of ingredients are approximate and can be varied according to taste or availability, optional ingredients may be but do not need to be included.

Pumpkin soup
makes one pot of soup
Ingredients:
1 large or two small squashes (I like to use hokkaido pumpkin or butternut squash, but feel free to use whatever edible squash you like!)
1-2 onions
celery: either a good piece (200g?) of celery root or 2-3 stalks
1 stalk of leek
2 carrots
parsley or parsley root
up to 1 L oat milk
a piece of ginger, ground or finely chopped
salt, chile flakes, nutmeg
2-3 tbsps. vegetable oil or vegan butter (I always use)optional: cubed potatoes, an apple, pinch of cinnamon, white wine, ground coriander, ground cumin, curry spice mix

toppings: pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil

  • Chop all the vegetables roughly.
  • Heat oil and/or vegan butter in a large pot.
  • Put chopped vegetables into the hot oil and let fry while stirring continuously for up to 10 minutes.
  • If using white wine, deglaze the vegetables with a good dash of the wine, if not, continue with next step:
  • Fill up with desired amount of oat milk and water until all of the vegetables are covered.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for around 20-30 minutes with closed lid, until all of the vegetable cubes are tender.
  • In the meantime, peel the ginger and grate or chop very finely. Add ginger at the end of the cooking time and stir until combined.
  • Puree the soup and season with salt, chile flakes and nutmeg. If desired, add additional spices like ground coriander, cumin or curry.
  • Serve topped with pumpkin seeds and a splash of pumpkin seed oil and enjoy!

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