Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have to say I am facing very strange climatic conditions this winter. Its dry and sunny, but that sun is just here to fool me, since its very very cold.
And I am used to cold winters, with negative degrees and snow but this .. this is different.
Its cold that enter your bones and no matter what you dress you get frozen.
So, I decide to stay as much as I can indoor. I cook, bake, knit and then again I cook, bake and knit ..with reading in the middle.
So, no surprise I baked this cake second time this week. First one with two layers disappeared so fast that I decided to bake another bigger one and write about it, since it does deserve all the attention.

But then we go back to beginning, winter sunny light. I am telling you, its a struggle. Light is so strong these days that I just decided not to fight it but go with a flow and capture all its beauty (with the cake in the middle).
I still prefer gray sky light that Lisbon offers but when you work with natural light and strong light is the only one you are getting for days .. it had to be.
Hope you all have a nice weekend and dress well before going out!!!

Vanilla Cake with Mascarpone Cream

(adapted from Small Victories by Julia Turshen)

INGREDIENTS
makes one three-layer 18cm cake

For the cake:
225g spelt flour
190g good quality coconut sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
160ml olive oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
240ml almond yogurt
1½ tsp vanilla extract

For the cream:
250g mascarpone cream
1 tbs icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs sour cream
100g raspberry jam

For the frosting:
80g roughly chopped chocolate
70ml rice cream at room temperature
10ml maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Make cake: Preheat your oven to 180C . Grease and flour three 18cm cake pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add olive oil, eggs, yogurt and vanilla and whisk until batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans.

Bake in preheated oven until cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes, still in their pans, to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Once cool, use a dinner knife to loosen edges of cakes from pans and invert them onto a work surface.

Make cream: Place mascarpone and sour cream in a bowl and mix well. Add icing sugar and vanilla and mix until you get smooth cream.

Make frosting: Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Put chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set it over the pot (the water should not touch the bowl — if it does, simply pour some out). Stir until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in rice cream and maple syrup. Frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate frosting until the cakes have cooled.

Once the cakes are cool, put one on a serving platter upside down so that the flat side is facing up. Spread 50g raspberry jam over and half of the cream on top. Put second cake on top of the jam-slathered cake, flat-side up and again spread the rest of the jam and cream. Put third cake on top of the jam-slathered cake again flat-side up.

Using a small offset spatula or a dinner knife, spread frosting all over side and top of cake.

Let the cake sit about 1 hour before serving. There’s something about letting each element get to know the others that serves this cake very well.

*If you have just one cake pan simply pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick tests clean. When it cools completely, use serrated knife to cut into three layers.

Spelt Baguette

Spelt Baguette |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Baguette |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Baguette |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Baguette |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have this strange obsessions from time to time. Few years ago I was obsessed with making macarons.
I made batches and batches of it, most unsuccessful. Made investigations, ordered books about macarons … My family couldn’t see or eat more of it.
I was totally determined, but it was getting lower and lower and at the end I made conclusion that reason for my failed macaroons is lack of almond flour on the market, closed this case and never ever tried to make them again.

Few weeks ago, I was passing by Eric Kayser bakery, and got some baguettes for kids, and after pitying myself for not being able to eat wheat flour baguetes I decided to try to make spelt version.
Thats how latest obsession started.
I found recipes, made batches, but they just didn’t look good, even they tasted ok. Off course kids were in total delirium since they had baguette sandwiches every day at school (they didn’t mind them being ugly)…but I was just not happy with result.
I started online search, looked at my books and then I found video that actually helped a lot.
I got perfect looking/tasting spelt baguete. I have to admit I even made a happy dance in the front of the oven .
I am curious to see what will be the next obsession …

Spelt Baguette

(adapted from breadtopia.com)
Ingredients

Starter (night before)
2g dry yeast
125ml warm water
125g spelt flour

Next Morning
300g spelt flour
5g (1tsp) salt
120ml warm water

Mix all ingredients for starter, without over mixing. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave until next morning.
Following day, mix all ingredients with starter, make dough and leave to rest. Every 10 minutes fold dough, repeat 4 times. Wet your fingers if dough is sticking.
Leave to rest for 1 hour.
Place dough on floured surface and divide into 3 equal parts. Carefully press each piece into a rectangle with your fingers. Fold top part, and then fold down part over. Repeat same for all 3 doughs. Leave to rest another 15minutes.
Take each mini dough and roll to make baguette shape (shape ends into points). Place on prepared baguette form and leave to rest 1h.
Turn on your oven, 250C, place frying pan inside (which you will fill with 200ml water later on).
When baguettes double in size, make incisions with sharp knife, put them into oven and place 200ml water into frying pan which will give humidity and avoid baguette breaking. Bake for 17min.
Take baguette out of oven and leave to cool down.

Lazy Pie

Lazy Pie |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Lazy Pie |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Lazy Pie |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Lazy Pie |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

My mum has 4 sisters. Each one of them used to have their specialties.
Whenever we would go to visit one of them I was hoping there is some food included, not mentioning when they would all gather at my grandmothers house, around the table under the walnut tree.

In the meantime, life took it’s course and 3 of them are not among us anymore, but I do think about them very often.
Last days my thoughts went to my aunt Aisa. She was most calm in the family … I always thought she looks like Ava Gardner.
She lived near my music school and almost every time I would go for my piano classes I would stop by.
Very often she used to have her famous Lazy Pie ready. I never said no to it.

Even it’s very common sweet in my country I never ate any as one she used to make. It was special. It was my aunt Aisa Lazy Pie. All my aunts and my mum had her recipe but any would taste the same. Her was always special.

Yesterday I decided to adapt her recipe so I can eat it and I was so happy when my kids asked for one more slice. I told them about my aunt, whome they never met, and now they also loved her special pie.

Lazy Pie

350g spelt flour
1 cup coconut sugar
1ts baking powder
1tbs chia seeds + 1 tbs water
250g butter
1tbs rice milk

1kg apples, peeled and grated
1tbs coconut sugar
2 ts cinnamon

Place grated apples in a pot together with 1tbs sugar and cinnamon. Cook for 10min. Leave to cool down.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Place parchment paper on the bottom of square cake form.
Mix together chia seeds and water and leave until it seeds absorb water..
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter until you get fine crumbs. Slowly add rice milk and chia seeds mixture until you get a fine dough. Wrap with plastic foil and leave for min 15min in the fridge.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in two peaces and roll them with a rolling pin until you get size of square pan you will use..
Line the form with the dough on the bottom. Take excess liquid from cooked apples and place on top of dough. Place second rolled dough on top. Brush with milk.

Bake in the hot oven for 40 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before cutting.

Atelier Ligia Casanova : Christmas Mood

Atelier Ligia Casanova : Christmas Mood | Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Atelier Ligia Casanova : Christmas Mood | Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Atelier Ligia Casanova : Christmas Mood | Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
Atelier Ligia Casanova : Christmas Mood | Photography by Sanda Vuckovic

Just few more days until Christmas and I feel so happy to spend some time all four together. I already have in mind food I will cook, cakes I will bake .. so it will be all about eating, playing, movie watching and having fun.

Today I wanted to share photography work I did for Atelier Ligia Casanova. Ligia styled her beautiful home which had festive and Christmas mood and I capture every single detail. Her dogs loved having me there as well, and I have to say they are amazing models!!!

So .. I wish you all great holidays surrounded with those you love, with a lot of great food, laughs and beautiful moments.

Credits
Styling : Ligia Casanova
Photography : Sanda Pagaimo
Cake : Ao 26 – Vegan Food Project

Food and Lifestyle Photography and Styling Workshop Alentejo, May 2017

Food and Lifestyle Photography and Styling Workshop Alentejo, May 2017
*****
This workshop is now SOLD OUT. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, write to little.upside.down.cake@gmail.com.

Thank you everyone!
*****

Last year I joined Marta Greber and we organized workshop we are both proud with.
We had amazing group of participants to whom I can call friends today. We worked very hard, ate great food Filipe prepared for us and above all we had so much fun and laugh a lot.
Thoughts of those few days always put smile on my face.

Food and Lifestyle Photography and Styling Workshop Alentejo, May 2017
So .. we are doing it again. We are so excited to announce our second Food and Lifestyle Photography Workshop!

If you feel like playing with photography, improving your skills, learning how to control light, style, look for a right angle and spend amazing time in the most beautiful spot in Portugal, this is for you.
Together with a talented flower stylist who will take us foraging and will compose a beautiful flower arrangement for us to shoot, an artist who will show you how to make your own backgrounds, we prepared a great program.

Food and Lifestyle Photography and Styling Workshop Alentejo, May 2017

Details:

When: 14th – 18th of May 2017
Price: 1350€ for shared double room 1500€ for private room. Deposit of 50% is needed for registration and a final payment will be due March 1, 2017.

What is included: All below listed except transfer from and to the airport
*3 whole days of food and lifestyle photography, all lectures, one on one sessions, classes, hands on
*all meals, refreshment and snack during workshop
*all activities and excursions including flower foraging with Chelsea Fuss and background making with Filipe Frazão
*accomodation at São Lourenço do Barrocal

Where :
São Lourenço do Barrocal is a 780-hectare estate in the stunning Alentejo region of Portugal. Bordering Alqueva lake, the estate spans olive groves, vineyards and meadows, as well as the remarkable stone formations.It is a place to embrace nature, no matter what time of the day.
Seventh-generation family-owned, the property is being sensitively transformed into a rural retreat, comprising a five-star hotel of understated luxury, its own winery, a farm to table restaurant and organic vegetable garden, a farm shop and a spa by Susanne Kaufmann.
All of this continuing to thrive as a working farm, producing olive oil from centenary olive trees, its own brand of single-estate wines, certified organic cattle, and oats.

Collaborators:
Chelsea Fuss is a floral designer and prop stylist originally from Portland, OR, now living in Lisbon. A former flower shop owner, Chelsea has studied floral design in London and worked alongside flower farmers in the English countryside. She loves casual, unfussy, flower arrangements that look like they were just gathered from the garden and strives to use locally grown or foraged flowers whenever possible.
Filipe Lucas Frazão is a Food Photographer based in Lisbon. With education in Fine Arts and Photography he is also a food lover. Food photography and food styling are the avenues he have found through which to communicate his passion for food, and ones he feels deeply fulfilled. Besides Photography Filipe also loves to cook simple and seasonal food and the freshness of a good fish is something he hardly resists.

Cancellation Policy: There will be no refunds on cancellation.

Reservation: For reservation please contact us on: wsiefbt@gmail.com or little.upside.down.cake@gmail.com.

Vanilice

Vanilice |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Vanilice |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I very often dream with my grandmother. I can clearly remember her white hair, scent of a cream she would put on her skin every morning, her voice and her home. But one of the things that I remember lately is her pantry and jar of vanilla cookies she always had ready for visitors.
I know I would open the pantry door every time I visited her seeking for cookies and they would be there, waiting in the jar. It’s vanilla scent and a touch of lemon , they just melt in the mouth.

Yesterday was a holiday in Portugal, and for some reason I walked up very early. I made coffee for me and turn oven on. I decided to bake these cookies. At a time kids walked up, cookies were almost done. I hope my kids keep memories of this as I remember my grandmother’s cookie jar.

Vanilice

Recipe from my grandmother’s recipe notebook

500g wheat flour
250g butter
4 tbs of sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
juice of one lemon
powdered sugar with vanilla scent (I keep always powdered sugar in a pot together with vanilla pods so it gets a strong vanilla scent)
berry jam (originally it’s used rose hip jam )

Preheat the oven to 200ºC
Mix the butter and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk, mix well. Add lemon juice, mix and add flour.

Work the dough until it gets together. Roll it out on a lightly floured board (to be 1.5 cm thick).
Take out circles with a cookie cutter, place them on a baking sheet and put in the oven (get them out when they become white).

When cookies get cold join two of them with some jam and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Berry Tart

Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Berry Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Last weeks were super busy. The days were mainly filled with fun stuff. My nephew came for a visit and we spent a great time together getting lost in Lisbon, visiting my favourite spots, drinking a lot of coffee and eating. Besides eating outside, I also cooked on the little free time left and baked a tart with some berries, leftovers from the summer. It’s his favourite tart.
Today, my body just rejected to cooperate and I had to stay in bed with blankets on top and tea on my side but I am so happy for all the fun we had together.

*****

As últimas semanas foram super ocupadas. Os dias foram principalmente preenchidos com coisas divertidas. O meu sobrinho veio visitar-nos e passamos bons momentos juntos, perdidos em Lisboa, a visitar os meus lugares favoritos, a beber muito café e a comer. Além de comer fora, também cozinhei no pouco tempo livre que restou e fiz uma tarte com alguns frutos silvestres, sobras do verão. É a sua tarte favorita.
Hoje o meu corpo simplesmente decidiu não cooperar e eu tive de ficar na cama com cobertores por cima e chá ao meu lado, mas estou muito feliz por toda a diversão que tivemos juntos.

Berry Tart

Spelt Dough
300g spelt flour (or wheat flour)
2tbs coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1ts salt
175g soy margarine (or butter), chilled and cut into cubes
3-4tbs cold water

Berry Filling
120g coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
3tbs spelt flour (or wheat flour)
1ts ground cinnamon
1/2ts ground cardamom
1/2ts ground ginger
1/4ts salt
500g frozen berries
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Mix the flour, sugar, margarine and salt until you get fine crumbs.Slowly add water until you get a fine dough. Wrap with plastic foil and leave for min 30min in the fridge.
Mix berries with lemon juice. In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, spices and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the fruit.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until 3mm thick.
Line the tart with the dough but do not trim the edges yet.
Stir berry mixture into the tart shell. Trim the excess dough. Roll the excess dough with a rolling pin until 3mm thick and cut the dough into even strips (1cm). Make lattice from stripes. Brush with egg and sprinkle with some extra sugar.
Bake in the hot oven for 45 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Lisbon Stories :: A Luz Ideal

A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic
A Luz Ideal| Photography by Sanda Vuckovic

I discovered A Luz Ideal while passing by with a car. I remembered I looked through the window and noticed this beautiful small coffee bar on the corner and thought I need to come to visit.
Since I went there first time, I kept going and it turned into one of my favourite places .. one of those spots you come in and you are welcomed with a big smile.

Everything begun while Teresa, owner who lives in the neighbourhood, was sitting on the bus station across where A Luz Ideal is now and realized a shop that was there at the time was closed. Idea came in and she tried to find out who is the owner of place.
Together with Pedro, her husband who is architect, and few more friends, she made project, presented it to the owner of place and they were accepted…
When they found out it’s approved they panicked. No experience in a field, with new project in hands they didn’t know where to start .

But story has a happened, they opened a beautiful space which is visited by people from neighbourhood and also by tourists and those, like me, who go there on purpose. Food and pastries made by Teresa, good coffee and great light and atmosphere , I can’t ask for more ..

A Luz Ideal
Rua General Schiappa Monteiro 2A, Lisbon
Mon-Fri 09.30 — 20.00
Saturday 09.30 — 14.30
Sunday Closed

Spelt Fruit Tart

Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic
Spelt Tart |Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have to say I am not surprised which doesn’t mean this doesn’t make me sad.
I come from country that suffered war and where hate is still very present and makes part of daily life.
I used to be surrounded by people who couldn’t see further then their feet … they couldn’t understand, even if you tried to explain.
There is us and them and there is no actual wall between but there is a virtual one, one that you can’t touch but you can feel it exist. And it is like that for more then two decades and I am slowly loosing hope.. so I am not surprised for President chosen yesterday, my country is ruled by similar ones for a long time .. but it does make me sad.

I know world may stop for second, but very fast it continue spinning and I continue baking this beautiful tarts which I served to my family, trying to not loose hope in humanity.

Spelt Fruit Tart

Spelt Dough
300g spelt flour (or wheat flour)
2tbs coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1ts salt
175g soy margarine (or butter), chilled and cut into cubes
3-4tbs cold water

Filling
90g coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
3tbs spelt flour (or wheat flour)
1ts cinnamon, grounded
1ts ginger, grounded
1/2ts cardamom, grounded
1/4ts salt
1kg fruits (I used apples and plums)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Mix the flour, sugar, margarine and salt until you get fine crumbs. Slowly add water until you get a fine dough. Wrap with plastic foil and leave for min 30min in the fridge.
In a separate bowl mix flour, sugar, spices and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the fruits.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until 3mm thick.Cut circles with pastry cutters, size to fit into small forms.
Line the tarts with the dough but do not trim the edges yet.
Stir fruit mixture into the tarts shells. Trim the excess dough. Roll the excess dough with a rolling pin until 3mm thick and cut the dough into even strips (1cm). Make lattice from stripes. Brush with egg.
Bake in the hot oven for 45 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake|Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

I have pumpkins on my mind. Not so sure if it’s because supermarkets are full of all kind of pumpkins, or if because of autumn colours that remind me on them or because I am in the mood for eating all kinds of food with pumpkin ..pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin galette …
Maybe it’s because ‘Dia das Bruxas’ is almost here and kids are planing how to celebrate it … Anyway, I have this recipe on my to do list for some time, and it had to be.
Cake is very moist, and spicy, and all you need for an autumn day!!!

Pumpkin Cake|Photography and Styling by Sanda Vuckovic

Pumpkin and Raw Chocolate Cake

(adapted from Gjelina by Travis Lett)

Cake:
420g piece kabocha squash seeded
250ml olive oil
180g spelt flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
250g sugar
3 eggs
100g raw chocolate nibs

Glaze:
75g icing sugar
1 tbs hot water
1 tbs olive oil
dry rose petals for decoration

Preheat oven to 220C. Place squash on baking sheet (cut side down), drizzle with olive oil, and bake until soft and starting to caramelise, around 30 minutes. Let cool a bit, scoop out flesh and puree in food processor until smooth. Wrap squash in cheesecloth and let strain in a colander a few hours or overnight. Measure out 225g, keep leftovers in a fridge.

Preheat oven to 165C. Butter baking pans.

Mix all dry ingredients except sugar in a large bowl. In a medium bowl whisk sugar, olive oil, squash puree and eggs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in squash mixture and whisk until just combined. Stir in chocolate nibs.

Pour batter into pans and bake until browned on the top and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert cake from the pan. Let cool on the rack another 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk icing sugar with hot water until you have a glaze the texture of honey. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly. Add more or less sugar and water as needed to achieve consistency.

Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip over the edges. Sprinkle rose petals over the cake and let set before serving.

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