Joanna Anastasia


Apple crumble squares

Apple crumble coffee cake

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

As my favourite book character, Anne , me too I believe that October is a beautiful month, full of it’s own colours and flavours! And every October I rediscover my passion for baking and home making, and this year is no different. After months of lack of inspiration in the kitchen department and the days too hot to cook, I’m back to regular meal planning every week, recipe inventing and baking from scratch using seasonal fruits.

So these apple crumble squares are a variation of a classical Polish apple cake called Sharlotka, that my grandmother used to make every fall, but it’s a bit healthier and more crunchy then the original version. Also, when I say it’s apple crumble, it means that the crumble is actually made with apples in it! So more texture and crunch and definitely lot’s of taste!

apple crumble coffee cake

What you’ll need;

For the apple oat crumble:

    • 5 big apples
    • 1 cup of oats
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar

For the cake:

  • pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup canola oil

For decoration: 1/2 cup melted butterscotch chocolate


Mix together all the dry ingredient of the cake, and then add the milk and the oil. Stir until well blended. Pour in the baking sheet, set aside.

Cut apples in small cubes. Mix well with oats, cinnamons, brown sugar, vanilla extract and flour. Pour on top of the cake mixture, and bake for around 40 minutes on 350 F.

Once the cake is ready, let it cool down before adding the melted butterscotch chocolate. My trick is to melt it slowly in the microwave ( setting it on 10 seconds, stirring, heating for 10 seconds again and stirring some more until completely melted) And then I use a small zip back, I pour the melted chocolate inside, cut a corner and decorate my coffee cake.

apple crumble coffee cake apple crumble coffee cake

apple crumble coffee cake

This cake is even better with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream, served warm on a cold and chilly afternoon!


Easy matcha brownies

easy and delicious, matcha brownies that are too good not to share!

I’m a huge fan of brownies, and I think there’s nothing better for warming up on the cold winter day, then indulging a little in a chocolaty and comforting brownie slice, accompanied by your favorite hot mug of tea. And recently I discovered matcha green tea, with its distinctive taste and amazing health benefits. So it’s only logical that I have decided to put these two flavors together!

And if you don’t know matcha tea yet, then all you need to know is that its a finely grounded powder of specially grown and processed tea, that is high in antioxidants, enhances calm, boosts memory and concentration and fortifies the immune system! Now, I think this is enough reasons to try it, am I right?

So, this is rather an adult type of cake, with its slightly bitter matcha taste. Though one of my daughters still loved it, and actually was fascinated by its green color! But other one of my daughters not so much .. So I guess it’s best to make it for your adult friends, and not necessary for your kid’s birthday party!

matcha brownies

matcha brownies, easy and so yummy!!

All you need:

– 1/2 cup canola oil
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
– 3 eggs ( separated yolks from whites)
– 2/3 cup flour
– 1 cup dark chocolate chips ( melted)

– matcha green tea

Beat up the egg whites in a mixer, and set aside.

In a standing mixer combine together sugar, oil, vanilla essence and egg yolks. Add melted chocolate and then add flour. Once it’s all well blended, add slowly egg whites.

Pour on a prepared baking sheet, and bake on 350F for around 20-25 minutes. Don’t over bake!

Let your brownie cool down completely, and then dust them with matcha green tea. Don’t use too much of it though, as it can be too bitter!

matcha brownies, so yummy and easy !

Enjoy with a big mug of hot tea and a couple of good friends!

Waiting for The Gingerbread Cake

this gingerbread cake is a perfect winter dessert,so easy to make with this one simple hack!

One of my most important family traditions that I want to pass on my kids, is the importance of festive food that you do only for the special occasions and the holidays. So every year for Christmas I bake the traditional Polish cake: Piernink. And every year right before Christmas Eve, my daughters and I cuddle in my bed while reading Christmas stories and waiting for our gingerbread cake to bake.

Except that I’ve “upgraded” my grandma’s recipe, by using a cake mix and some spices! Now it’s so easy to make, that it leaves me more time for doing what’s most important; reading about Santa.

Because let’s face it, even though baking is a great winter pastime, sometimes in the mists of last-minute Christmas preparations its good to have a shortcut recipe, as I like to call them. And with a couple of tricks, a boxed cake can taste just like a secret grandma’s recipe!

gingerbread cake

And if you’ve never heard of ” Piernik” aka, The Gingerbread Cake, it’s a traditional Polish Xmas cake, made with lots of spices and dark honey. In some families, it’s filled with a sweet prune filling, and in others it’s covered with chocolate ganache. My version is easier, and it involves much less preparation. Which is perfect with these little monkeys.

Now, I don’t use the prune filling ( although it’s pretty good) and I don’t make a chocolate ganache, instead I choose the simplest solution, that my kids love, which is decorating my cake with melted milk chocolate. Honestly, the reason why they can’t wait for the Piernik to be baked, is because they can’t wait to help me decorate it: that is, lick all the chocolate!

waiting for the gingerbread cake

That’s why we read and play in my bed. Because it’s their second favorite thing to do, on a snowy afternoon, after they’ve already played outside, and right after licking spoons fool of chocolate! Actually, to be completely honest, they always love playing in my bed, gathering their stuffed animals and pretending it’s their little vet clinic! Ever since my bedroom makeover, my bedroom is more of a mom sanctuary, but when I do let them in, they’re making the most of it!

You can find the recipe in our Hello Holidays look-book here, on page 81, just click on “make it”!

I’m not saying you have to curl up in your bed while you’re making your Piernik, but then again, why wouldn’t you?

gingerbread cake

Photos in this post where captured by Donna Griffith.

Apple crumble coffee cake

this is hands down the best fall desert ever! Such an amazing cake, full of flavor, and smelling amazing too! #fall, #apple #coffeecake

If there where only one apple cake recipe I’d have to choose it would be this apple crumble coffee cake! It’s super moist, chock-full of walnuts and apple chunks, and generously finished with lovely crunchy oat crumble. And it’s a baking hack!

You see, when I was growing up in Poland, my grandmother used to bake this apple cake called “Sharlotka” or Charlotte, that would look and taste exactly like this cake here. Except that it would take her much more time to prepare!

And if you now me a bit, then you know that I really enjoy baking from scratch. It’s just that sometimes life, aka kids and work get between me and my hobby, and turn me towards a box cake!

Yes, I used a box cake to whip up this amazing cake, and I’m not afraid to admit it! And you too can prepare this cake in less than 10 minutes!

apple crumble coffee cake

What you’ll need:

For the cake layer:

– 1 yellow box cake ( replace oil for melted butter and water for milk, quantities like on the box)

For the apple layer:

– 3 big apples cut in chunks
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the crumble:

– 1 cup quick oats
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 table-spoon melted butter or margarine
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the cake layer as on the package, just remember to replace the water by milk and the oil by butter.

Pour the batter in to the pan. ( But don’t pour all of your cake batter, since there needs to be place left for apples and crumble. I used one round cake pan and two mini ones for this recipe.)

Mix apple pieces (no need for perfect cubes) with walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. Pour the apple filing over the cake batter.

Mix the quick oats with flour, brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract, and sprinkle the apples with the crumble.

Bake as indicated on the box! ( Unless you’re using mini pans, then cut the time in half.)

apple crumble coffee cake

Serve warm or cooled down. You can even add some vanilla ice cream on top, I promise it’s simply amazing together!

Apple crumble coffee cake, amazing dessert that you need to try this year! #applecake #fall #dessert

apple crumble coffee cake, amazing dessert to try this fall! #easycake


Olive oil chocolate cake

I love chocolate cakes, and I love cake for breakfast, and this is just the right type of cake to have with your morning coffee or tea! It’s not overly sweet, just really delicious and chocolaty, if you know what I mean! This is one sophisticated, dense and moist chocolate cake that not only adults, but kids alike will love! Olive oil gives it this super moisture, and makes it so much healthier too!

Easy, moist and delicious olive oil chocolate cake

Being very honest I didn’t plan that day on experimenting with chocolate and olive oil. I just run out of butter, and I was determined to bake a chocolate cake. So after a quick search through the cookbooks, I decided that it is possible to bake with olive oil. I’m so happy I tried this, because now we all can bake with olive oil! ( hooray!) But seriously, I’m going to definitely make this cake again, and I’ll experiment with other cakes too. Something tells me that a lemon olive oil cake would be really good too, what do you think?

But coming back to this cake here, I used dark chocolate for this recipe,because it goes really well with olive oil. But if you’d like your cake to be less chocolaty and more sweet, go with the milk chocolate, it’s up to you!

What you’ll need :

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup olive oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup white chocolate (optional)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, and set them aside. Melt the chocolate chips. Mix together olive oil, melted chocolate, eggs and vanilla. Add your dry ingredient mix, and mix it all well together. Pour in to the cake pan, and bake on 35OF for around 35 to 40 minutes.
You can dust your cake with a little bit of powdered sugar, or you can do like I did, and melt white chocolate that you’ll pour over the olive oil chocolate cake! The second option looks great and adds extra sweetness, so it’s my favourite option!

Delicious, moist and dense olive oil chocolate cake

And what are your favourite recipes for using olive oil beyond cooking?

Doughnut plum cake

This plum cake tastes just like a doughnut with jam,

I always make one plum cake in the fall, and this year you got really lucky, because this doughnut plum cake tastes just like a delicious vanilla doughnut with some home-made jam! But it’s not fried, and nobody spend hours making the jam!

I played a bit with a classical polish plum cake, and with all the humbleness possible, I think that I invented something amazing. Although if you’re looking for 100% healthy recipe then this might not be it. But it is home-made, and it features a fruit, so lest say that it’s just fine, ok?

Plum cake

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup avocado oil ( or just a total of 1/2 cup butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Around 6 plums cut in half

Icing sugar

ed this plum cake tastes just like doughnuts with plum jam

Cream the butter, avocado oil and sugar together, add flour, baking powder,vanilla essence, salt, and eggs. Beat well until smooth. Pour in to a baking pan, and then place the plums cut-side down. Sprinkle it with a bit of sugar and cinnamon and bake for around 45 minutes on 350F

Plum cake

Let your doughnut plum cake cool down a little, and then dust it evenly with icing sugar and sprinkles ( I believe in a simple rule: the more the better)

This plum cake tastes just like baked doughnuts with plum jam!

Now remember, that this doughnut plum cake wasn’t fried like real doughnuts are, so you can have a double portion! Enjoy!

This plum cake tastes just like a doughnut with jam

1 2