Greatness In Simplicity: Apple Sponge Slice

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther

During the years of baking and storytelling the tale of my baking past has coloured many of my creations…how baking connected me to my roots, how did the smell of fresh bread stole my heart, how did I watch my fairy grandmothers bake… but some personal touches and details slipping, has always made the story somewhat incomplete….Throughout that cold December week just before Christmas, baking happened to be a daily activity in the mornings, to – just as always – get ready for the festive season with a luxurious array of sweet treats… During that week, one particular movement, mixed with the smell and taste turned out to be the point from what onward I couldn’t imagine living a week anymore without the power of creating that experience. She was baking a simple apple sponge. As she whisked a cheeky dice of apple wanted to escape the heat of the oven, but Grandma -like she was floating on air – turned and  gently guided it back to her ceramic bowl. Her movement smelt like cinnamon. I was only little, and my gorgeous Grandma didn’t know it, but then my lifelong passion with the scent, appearance and flavour of baked goods was born. The old kitchen with its fire-heated stove became my favourite place to be and I was mesmerized by watching the grand lady bake. I hardly missed a bit, and growing into having my own place next to her, meant touching the sparkle of the magic from up close. Baking was always my favourite part of her kitchen chores, for many reasons…She truly glowed when she baked. Her feet were above the ground, and she told tales without saying a word… I usually got a little piece of dough to play with when she baked, and oh my, wasn’t it special… And she baked. She baked endlessly. Breads, scones, cresents, strudel, pies, rolls….just baked. Great -great grandmothers’, aunts’ and godmothers’ secret recipes shared place with her relentless energy and flawless simplicity in the kitchen. When baking, ever since, I am still  quest for finding the enchanted world of her kitchen. Every single bake takes me back  in time, and every slice of almond, every dusting of flour, every drop of apple juice and every cracking of an egg takes me one step closer to unlocking the secret…The secret, that I am convinced is really just a very simple  but precise formula of mixing love and devotion. Unless she had an army of invisible elves helping her, that is also possible… Grounding walnuts, sprinkling apple with cinnamon, watching the cake rise and turning gold in the oven, all moments that can mould one’s mind and heart into one big pot of sugar…just so all out there can be aware…

Ingredients: 170 g butter, 3 eggs, a(250 ml)mug sugar,  one and a half (250 ml) mug of plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, zest of one lemon, 1 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of salt, 3 apples (peeled, cored and diced)

Method: whisk the eggs with the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt until shiny and homogeneous. Finally fold in the dices apple gently and bake in a lined 20×30 cm tin. Serve with a with a dusting of sugar.

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.”  Robert H. Schuller


Working with Old Baking Methods: Flame Roasted Aubergine Spread

“Everything you have contact with will be woven into your garden.” Kathy Stinson

Where should I start….a picturesque garden full of ripe produce signifies and summarizes good people and good life. Good people, who have the love, care and attention to nurture plants, so they provide pleasure for others…Good life, where Mother Nature hugs the people and plants with beautiful, fertilizing kisses of sun and rain…My mother’s garden is a joy to look at, it is an inspiration to get in and it is an honour to be catered from…


People who like all things traditional, all thing tasty and all things healthy should definitely enjoy baked fresh garden produce, created with the flame roasted method. Unlike many thinks, it is not only producing savoury treats, but there are brilliant sweet dishes cooked on fire such as the traditional chimney cake.


Flame-roasting simply means preparing food over an open flame. One express in a fancier way saying “grilling,” however, technically fire-roast food can be done in the broiler, on the stovetop burner, or on a gas or charcoal grill. The basic idea of the flame/fire-roasting baking method is exposing the food to the to fire so that the flame blisters it externally and sometimes slightly blackens the skin of the food. This intensifies the flavour and gives it a hint of smokiness. Probably many people would hurry now to correct me and highlight the differences between baking and roasting….well…Roasting and baking are both dry heat cooking methods, using hot air to conduct heat. Both methods brown the exterior of the food, adding delicious flavour. The structure of food is maybe the only factor that sets these cooking methods somewhat apart. Roasting involves cooking foods that already have a solid structure before the cooking process begins, baking is a process where foods that lack structure early on, then become solid.

While roasting used to signify food cooking over an open flame, roasting today is done in an oven, but some things, like the aubergine caviar, can simply not be pushed to their highest potential without flames….There is something ancient, something sexy, something truly human about fire…

” I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” Joshua Graham


6 large aubergine (or 8 small ones)
1 large onion (diced finely)
10 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 tbsp fresh mayonnaise
Possible additional spices/condiments – OPTIONAL:
1/2 inch ginger, 2 green chillies, 2 spring onions, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp chopped coriander, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp natural yogurt


Wash aubergines and dry.  Roast over a gas flame. Leave it over the flame until a side of it chars black, turning it to ensure all of the aubergine chars black (cooked when they leak fluid and become soft). Carefully transfer to a bowl. Let it cool. When the aubergine is cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the charred skin. It should come away easily, but if tiny bits of the skin may remain (my Transylvanian mother-in-law would not approve), only to add to the flavour. Chop up the flesh and mash it slightly with a potato masher. Keep some texture. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and onion, mix thoroughly. Serve with fresh bread rolls.

Recycling the Summer Abundance: Soft Fruit Pulp Cookies

“God will overflow your cup, so grab the biggest one you can find.” Rob Liano


Summer usually means a heavenly abundance of fresh fruit…An apple tree in the garden? A raspberry bush nearby? A strawberry field just a few meters away?… The summer often produces goods to a quantity that no family is able to eat whilst the fruit is still fresh. Using slightly over-ripened fruit, in majority of the households – leads to bottles of syrup or jars of jam.


It’s a common problem this time of year — the abundance of beautiful, ripe fruit leads the hungry eye to pick up more than one can possibly eat before those fruits get soft and squishy. Pancake sauce, salad dressing, smoothies and popsicles are also among the most common uses and by all means, they are wonderful. However, using the mushy, super sweet fruit pulp in quick bakes, like cobbler, crumble and pie, offer more sophisticated kitchen recycling projects. Making a cookie with fruit pulp might be a little different, but with a refreshing ice tea it delivers a light, instant joy. It is also a way to make the fruit-averse eat a healthy portion…

“Live from abundance; Utilize with economy; Share in advance.” Geoffrey M. Gluckman

320 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
300 g granulated sugar
115 g butter, softened
200-230 g fruit puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boiled Icing


Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease baking sheets.Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in the fruit puree, egg and vanilla extract until smooth (use as much that the mixture does not become wet). Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. In the meantime prepare the boiled icing, and roll cooled cookies into the icing so they become completely covered.

“If you stop giving, you stop the stream of abundance.” Lailah Gifty Akita

The Perfect Base Biscuit: for Rum Balls, Truffles, Cheesecakes, Crunchy Cake Layers and More…

“Nine times out of ten, you aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit.” Caitlin Moran

A simple biscuit might not be the dream of excitement for many consumers due to lacking the elegance, sophistication and exotic flavour combinations that some cakes and desserts have. It is, however, certainly the kind of thing that ought to come as standard rock for the soul in many of life’s crisis situations, along with a friendly chat and a hot drink. Beyond that, as a baker, I use biscuits for many thing, that will give the pleasure, the thrill and glamour the biscuit might misses to provide for some people… as a truffle ingredient…as a rum ball solid…as a cheesecake base…as a crunchy cake layer…as a delicious cover for outside of bakes…as a crumble topping…Get the recipe right, and one will be set for life.


50 g wholewheat flour
50 g spelt flour
100 g medium oatmeal
50 g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
A little pinch of the following spices: ground ginger, cinnamon
100 g butter
1-2 tablespoons milk


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Mix together all of the dry ingredients and rub in the butter to a breadcrumb texture. Add enough milk to create a moist pastry consistency. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm the mix. This creates a reasonably delicate dough so it’s important to roll to about 3 mm thickness between the sheets of cling film very gently. Cut into discs, and keep re-rolling until all dough is used. Place the discs on a lined baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes before transferring onto a wire rack.

“Any time is biscuit time!” Raja R. Archie


Adding 175 g melted chocolate, 200 g sugar, 3 tablespoons honey, 125 ml rum to 450 g of these biscuits crushed, formed to balls and rolled into 125 g desiccated coconut, will result in the most delightful rum balls…

Sweet Bloom: Flower Cakes (Rose, Violet, Chamomile)

“She plants love, and she grows roses. The fragrance of romance comes from the blossom that blooms in the heart.” Jarod Kintz




“Love yourself, even a little bit each day, and your life will bloom into infinite joy.” Amy Leigh Mercree



“Love without reason—bloom without season.” Debasish Mridha



For the recipes read the Baking Heaven Summer 2016 issue

Spring Magic: Nest Cappuccino Cupcake

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” Pablo Neruda


The spring is the time of transformation in nature and in the inner worlds… The temperature and mood rises, and the flowery magic of Mother Nature brings end to the last few months of freezing surroundings. The flowers and leaves, the world saw wilt, are now turning into sparkly and colourful perfection. Aside from the weather’s transformations that takes place in the spring season, people are often transforming their lives, too. Spring is a time of phenomenal renewal. The earth reawakens from the slumber, and explodes with new life. In our own lives, Spring can be symbolic time of sewing new seeds and coming forth with new ideas. This is also a time to contemplate health and physical well-being too. Be refreshed and prepare for a soulful debut!The lighter evenings, the flowers blooming and the warming up can only mean one thing – joy is on its way!


“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.” Victor Hugo

250 g unsalted butter, softened
250 g sugar
4 large eggs
50 ml espresso coffee
250 g self raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
25 g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
For the cream
220 g unsalted butter, softened
425 g icing sugar
2-3 tsps of very strong coffee
Chocolate shavings
White marzipan (quantity depends on the size of egg desired)


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tray with paper cases. Beat the butter with the sugar until really pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the coffee and then gently stir in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Spoon the mixture into the cases about three-quarters full. Bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the cream, beat the butter and icing sugar until really light and fluffy. Beat in the coffee. Pipe the mixture onto the cupcakes and finish with marzipan eggs and chocolate shavings.


“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.” Lilly Pulitzer

The Special Offering of Easter: The Gift of Life…Coconut and Green Tea Cupcakes

“A child is a special possession from God.” Lailah Gifty Akita

There are many, who do not sense, or stop and trying to understand the greatness of every child as a gift. Every person is a true, unrepeatable present to the universe, every person adds to the magic of the universe, lucky are those who the angels choose to have as their parents…


“They are like the angels, they are God’s children.” Luke 20:36

I thank the power above, no matter what one calls it, for the gift of every child to raise, every life to share, every mind to help mold, every body to nurture, and every spirit to enrich. Let the world never betray a child’s trust, or dampen a child’s hope, or discourage a child’s dreams. With purely love, understanding and patience for the journey ahead, every precious child has the potential to become all that power above means them to be. The gifts, given to humans, are coming in many shapes from above: some as Easter presents, some in the form of perfect coconuts, some as fragrant spring flowers, some in the smiles of a beautiful baby, like my gorgeous niece, Savannah…whatever form it takes, life is a supreme gift. And for those who believe it, Easter will bring life for an eternity!


“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

170 g flour
50 g dessicated coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
113 g coconut oil
200 g sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
100 ml milk
3 tsp green tea leaves, broken fine
350 g icing sugar, sifted
55 g butter
115 g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/3 tsp green powder


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.In a bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, shredded coconut, salt, lemon zest and tea. Beat coconut oil and sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Then, with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk. Beat just until combined. Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake just comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. To make the cream beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and well blended. Gradually beat in the sugar, vanilla and coconut extract, beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy and of spreading consistency (about 3 minutes). Add a little milk or cream if frosting is too thick. Garnish with seasonal touches, such as bunny head or edible flowers.


Dear Babies of our World,

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Leo Buscaglia