{ spekulatius bundt cake with cranberries, orange and almond }

my handsome 'little' bros and me wish you a happy new year 2015!
by my dearest pretty little stories
i am sorry i haven't been posting lately.
truth is... it's not like i haven't been cooking!

you've seen what i've been doing in the kitchen - i cannot lie.
i've got plenty of inspiring recipes to share with you, which have accumulated to a dramatic point over the last month, while i kept running around thinking about loads of other stuff, not without bearing a guilty tiny corner of mind, squeezing and twisting over the postponed blogger work.
it's just that every time i come to Portugal there's so much stuff to do that i don't know where to turn to anymore, and time seems to slip between my fingers. when i finally find myself staring at my laptop's overly bright screen, it's most likely three in the morning and, despite the intensity of the light, i'm already having trouble keeping my eyes open.

in any case, i decided that even if i cannot find the right words - you have no clue how demanding i am with writting, particularly my own! - and even if there was no recipe attached, i would not keep myself from posting in the first day of the year... especially because this post was already meant for yesterday... uups!

so here i am, trying to select the right recipe to get back to my posting routine and say hello to 2015.

2014 was hard on me.
really hard.
you know... i love this queen christmas song, 'thank god it's christmas', and i've sung it from the heart every single year of university, during this season's finals... but there has been no other year when it would fit my life better - it's really been 'a long hard year.'

really long. 2014 was oddly long.
i feel like i'm lightyears away from the person i was back in the first of january two-thousand-fourteen. and so it is with my life.

it's been a rough year, but in reality i've achieved quite a lot too - and the harshness of it kind of makes all achievements seem a bit greater. i did get over a massive snowball of personal issues that almost led me into depression, i got an apartment on my own and lived alone (and loved it!), i actually survived a whole summer month completely alone while working on my thesis (which has been quite a step since early 2014 me), i made great friends abroad and kept my beloved old ones, i got my master degree with distinction, i started working and earning money, i went to an amazing concert, i kept this cooking corner alive and finally got it a domain, i hosted two big parties, i tried and mastered plenty new recipes (many from scratch!), i lost my fear of flying (you could actually catch me on a plane 12 times this year!), i finally managed to communicate in german in my daily life (a language which i kind of learned by myself), i watched a lot of great films and tv shows, i totally restyled my wardrobe, i managed to save some money... it was quite a year.

but today is not about 2014.
not that i don't find it important to make an analysis of our past year - i really do.
today is about the year that just started, for whatever we wished to do in it, we must start doing it now.

and that is one of the reasons i'm not postponing this post anymore.

first of all, i would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, to all my friends and family who haven't given up on me this year, despite my moodiness and despair, enthusiasm and indeliberate rude remarks, sometimes indifference or even harshness and despite me being me. thank you all for loving me and supporting me the way i am ♥
i would also like to thank all the people who give me strenght to keep on posting, from friends to followers and visitors!

second, i want to wish you all, also from the bottom of my heart, great success and joy for 2015. i have a feeling this is gonna be a good year.
wish you all moments of pure happiness, and that your wishes for the new year come true!
and take my advice: if you haven't been doing it so, make your resolutions list up of stuff that depends solely on yourself ;)

and now... on to the recipe!

for me, cooking-wise, 2014 has meant a lot of patisserie and baking. feels like i'm turning from cooking to baking, quite likely because i mostly cook for one, and when i get together with friends to cook something special i have little time to think about blogging.

it's been the year i've fallen for making my own bread by hand,
it's also been macaron and danish pastry year,
and, among many others, it's been pound cake year.

oh yeah, i've come from hating butter to loving it (still only when it is well hidden - no butter on bread, no butter on anything, just for baking!). creaming butter for cakes has substituted beating egg yolks with sugar as a first step, and my biggest challenge has been not to let the eggs curdle while adding them - a little flour goes a long way!

i was so convinced i had mastered the pound cake on my first attempt (check out this blueberry-lemon beauty), that i went from the perfect pound to kitchen disaster: lumpy batter, forgetting different ingredients every time... all out of distraction - what a bad baker!

yet i'm not the kind of woman who throws in the towel easily, so i kept fantasizing about plenty pound-cake based recipes. that was the curious case of this cake.

i made this cake for a (delicious) homemade pizza dinner i went to, but i was not quite satisfied with the result. i know it looks pretty, but the interior was a bit too moisty and thick. that got me really embarrased and puzzled at the time (you know, i have a cooking blog and people expect the best from me) and kept me thinking about what had gone wrong the whole evening, but it was only hours later that i figured i had left two eggs out and quite likely the baking powder too. in my opinion, the cake also had a bit too much fruit, which has lent too much moist to the batter.

i've corrected the recipe so i could finally share it and so that you can try it - and i think it will work perfect so.
this cake is all about holidays and snowy days, so i think this is the right time to bake it!

Bundt Cake de Spekulatius com Cranberries, Laranja e Amêndoa
- 250g de manteiga, à temperatura ambiente
- 250g de açúcar
- 200g de farinha
- 50g de amêndoa ralada
- 300ml de buttermilk
- 4 ovos
- 4 colheres de sopa de doce de laranja
- 2 colheres de chá de fermento em pó
- 1 colher de sopa rasa de mistura de especiarias para spekulatius
- sal
- 100g de cranberries secos
- 25g de orangenat (casca de laranja cristalizada picada)

- 1/2 chávena de açúcar em pó
- 1 colher de sobremesa de sumo de limão
- cranberries, amêndoa laminada e orangenat para decorar
- açúcar em pó para polvilhar

Numa taça grande, bater a manteiga com o açúcar e o doce até obter uma mistura cremosa e homogénea,
Adicionar cada ovo separadamente, juntamente com uma colher de sopa de farinha para evitar que a mistura coalhe, batendo entre adições,
Numa outra taça, misturar a farinha, a amêndoa ralada, o fermento, o sal e as especiarias,
Aos poucos e de forma intercalada, incorporar a mistura de farinha e o buttermilk na mistura de manteiga,
Incorporar as frutas com a ajuda de uma espátula,
Levar ao forno pré-aquecido a 170ºC, numa forma de bundt untada com manteiga, cerca de 40 minutos,
Desenformar e deixar arrefecer,
Preparar o glacé batendo o açúcar em pó com o sumo de limão. A mistura deve ficar bastante espessa (se necessário, adicionar mais açúcar),
Verter o glacé por cima do bolo completamente arrefecido, cobrir com as restantes frutas e amêndoa e polvilhar com açúcar em pó para o efeito de neve.

Spekulatius Bundt Cake with Cranberries, Orange and Almond
- 250g butter, room temperature
- 250g sugar
- 200g flour
- 50g almond flour
- 300ml buttermilk
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp orange marmalade
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 scant tbsp spekulatius spice mix
- salt
- 100g dried cranberries
- 25g orangenat (cristalized orange peel, chopped)

- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 to 3 tsp lemon juice
- cranberries, laminated almonds and orangenat to garnish
- confectioners' sugar to dust

In a big bowl, cream butter with sugar and jam until fluffy, creamy and homogeneous,
Mix in the eggs one at a time, each of them with a spoonful of flour to keep the mixture from curdling,
In a second bowl, mix flour, almond, baking powder, salt and spices,
Gradually incorporate the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the butter mixture, using a bit of each at a time,
Carefully fold in the fruit,
Pour into a greased bundt cake pan and bate at 170ºC for about 40 minutes,
Release the cake, flipping it over a dish, and let cool,
Prepare the glaze, beating the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. It should be quite thick (if needed, add more sugar),
Pour the glaze over the cool cake, quickly decorate with the remaining fruit and almond; dust with confectioners' sugar for the snowy effect.

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