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Preview: Café Chocolada

Cafe Chocolada

Favorite and tested recipes

Updated: 2018-01-17T16:20:38.954-05:00


Pillsbury Grands! Monkey Bread


   Semi homemade. Yes, guilty.Delicious - check.Easy - check. Why not? I love making everything from scratch. Sometimes, however, you come across these recipes that you simply must try. Recipes like this one, Pillsbury Grands! Monkey Bread. It's great to make for kids, or big kids. Family and guest will all enjoy. Awesome for that special sweet breakfast too! Quick, easy, yet it will taste very homemade.I have omitted walnuts and raisins because of kids, otherwise would have loved to try with them too. Pillsury Grands! Monkey Bread  Ingredients:1/2  cup granulated sugar                        1  teaspoon cinnamon                         2  cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits        1/2  cup chopped walnuts, if desired                         1/2  cup raisins, if desired                         1  cup firmly packed brown sugar                    3/4  cup butter or margarine, melted                Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.  In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.                                 Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.  Recipe credit Pillsbury.comFork absolutely not necessary! :)[...]

Bûche de Noël or Christmas Yule Log


  One of the most traditional Christmas desserts is the Bûche de Noël cake or Yule Log. It looks intimidating and hard to make, but it couldn't be any simpler. Essentially, it's just making a roll, just like a jelly roll, filling it with butter based cream, and decorating it with the same. The look of the "wood" is so simply achieved just with a fork, and the roll itself. You can play with the recipe, make it chocolate or not, fill it with any cream you prefer, as long as it still looks like a log. Meringue mushrooms, powdered sugar, and some pine tree branches added to the overall look of a log in winter, and it's all so easy to do.  My Yule Log turned out so delicious, I just gotta share how I created it. Bûche de Noël or Christmas Yule Log Chocolate Genoise Sheet (recipe from Food Network):3 large eggs3 large egg yolks Pinch salt3/4 cup sugar1/3 cup cake flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)1/3 cup cornstarch1/4 cup alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa Special equipment: 10 by 15-inch jelly-roll pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment Set rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees (test with your finger). Attach the bowl to the mixer and with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa.Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until well risen, deep and firm to the touch. (Make sure the cake doesn't overbake and become too dry, or it will be hard to roll.)Use a small paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and let the cake cool right side up on the paper. Remove the paper when the cake is cool.Storage: Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several days, or double-wrap and freeze for up to a month.My note: I have skipped whisking over simmering water. Just make sure you eggs and all the ingredients are room temperature.  My sheet turned out perfect. My Tip: I sprinkle fresh squeezed orange juice of one whole orange all over the cake sheet. It really wakes up the cake, and gives it the special flavor, you will love!Vanilla cream:700 ml milk2 eggs1 package vanilla pudding ( the cooking kind)2 tbs flour2 tsp vanilla sugar1 cup sugar (or more if you like the cream to be sweeter)1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature. Can add more butter for a bit creamier feel and taste, but for me 1 stick is enough.1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chipsMix eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, pudding, and flour with a little bit of milk (about 100 ml taken from the 700 ml). Mix it really well with a hand held mixer. Put rest of the milk in medium saucepan and let it boil. When it reaches boiling point reduce heat to medium and gradually, but not too slow add the pudding/egg mixture in. Mix constantly, and cook for a minute, until it's thick, and transfer into a glass bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let cool down to room temperature. It will get really thick, but no worries. Mix in room temperature butter, and mix it well. Tip: While the cream cools it might develop "skin" on top, remove that by scraping it off with a teaspoon, otherwise you'll have lumps in your finished c[...]

Eclair Cake


      For the upcoming Holidays don't forget about this simple, crowd pleasing cake.       So easy to make, and so delicious!       I love baking from scratch, but this cake really is a great choice when you       don't have enough time, but still want to serve something everyone will love.          Éclair Cake        2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix         1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed         3 cups milk         1 (16 ounce) package graham cracker squares        1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting         *Instead of chocolate frosting I have used 100g milk chocolate with 2 tbs oil,          melted slowly on low heat.        *If using chocolate instead of chocolate frosting, remember to let the cake sit 15-20 min         before serving and cut with a sharp knife which you heat by putting it under running hot water. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk.Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours before serving.Recipe from[...]

Denmar Danish White Cheese & Zucchini Phyllo Pita


Denmar Danish White Cheese & Zucchini Phyllo Pita

1 lb Denmar Danish White Cheese
2 eggs
2 small/medium zucchinis grated and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil mixed with 5tbsp hot (not too hot) water

Also need:
egg wash (1 egg 2 tbsp water)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Crumble two Danish White Cheese blocks with a fork until resembles crumbled feta. Scramble two eggs and mix in with the cheese. Add salt and zucchini.

Mix water and oil in a small bowl, this will be phyllo wash. Oil bottom of the pan, place one sheet of phyllo with excess edges going over. Sprinkle generously but don't over soak with oil/water mixture, then place another phyllo sheet over, sprinkle again, and spread a layer of the filling. Repeat until you have 3 layers of cheese zucchini filling, and then top it with another two layers of phyllo sheets. Cut away the excess edges, and tuck the edges in nicely.

Ideally this would be better with homemade phyllo, but sometimes you just don't have the time :)
Oil the top lightly but evenly, especially the edges. With a sharp knife cut into squares and bake until golden brown. It will rise a little. At the very end brush with egg wash and bake another 3-5 minutes. Take out of the oven, cover lightly and let it set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cheat Ravioli (with wonton wrappers)


Love all things simple. Who doesn't? Not much time to cook and experiment lately, so I love quick recipes that are still at least semi-homemade :)
1 medium bag of spinach
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan/Romano grated cheese mix
salt and pepper to taste
(no need for exact measurements, just kind of off hand)
 I sautéed spinach (just until wilted), and drained it well. Then processed it in a food processor with remaining ingredients, just few spins ;)
That's it!
To assemble, brush the edges of wonton wrappers with water, place a little less than teaspoon of filling in center, and connect opposite corners. Using a fork secure the edges. Boil like any other pasta, until al dente and serve with your favorite sauce.
I don't have an after picture because it was late for pictures at dinner time. Perhaps next time I make them on a weekend and update this post, because I sure am making them again.

Lamington Cake Pops


Well, my family and friends love lamingtons, so I thought about making them into cake pops. Sure enough, people have already done it!! Well, great idea, indeed! Love 'em!
To make:
One recipe sponge cake, or your favorite sponge cake recipe.
Chocolate candy melt
Any kind of pudding, cream, frosting or whatever you like to combine the crumbs. I have used Dr.Oetker strawberry pudding made with about 1/3 cup less milk so it's thicker.
Desiccated coconut
Cool the cake, remove crust, and crumble it with your hands. Add pudding, or whatever you like to make a mixture that can be formed easily. Form balls and put a stick in each, dip them in chocolate candy melt, and then in coconut. Cool in fridge, and serve. Easy! :)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream


Chocolate sour cream cupcake batterRecipe adapted from Cupcakes! By Elinor Klivans This batter produces a light, moist dark chocolate cupcake. As all good basic chocolate cupcakes should, these have flat tops, perfect for slathering with creamy fudge frosting They can also be swirled with a mound of marshmallow-like frosting, covered with peppermint icing, or filled with a generous amount of chocolate mousse.Yield: Makes enough batter for 18 regular cupcakes, 12 big-top cupcakes, 12 extra-large cupcakes, or 60 mini-cupcakes Prep time: About 10 Minutes Ingredients3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour½ teaspoon baking powder½ teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon salt½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature1¼ cups sugar2 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract½ cup sour cream½ cup waterDirectionsPut the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth. The batter is ready to bake, or for additions such as nuts, fruit, chocolate chips, or other flavorings.* Baking temperature and times vary by oven, so make sure you don't over bake. I baked mine at 375 F for about 20 min. I checked them about 13 min into baking with a toothpick.For the cream I used one of my favorites, from Paganini cake recipe. Chocolate Cream:5 egg yolks, and 1 whole egg50 g/1.75 oz dark chocolate150g/ 5.25 oz sugar250g/ about 9 oz butter or margarine, unsaltedMix egg yolks, egg, and sugar until nicely incorporated, and then cook, with chocolate, in a double boiler. Cool down completely, and then add butter, or margarine cut into thin slices, and mix until smooth. Let it sit in the fridge until needed.Great with morning coffee too :)[...]

New York Cheesecake


If I was going to try a cheesecake, I wanted the New York one, but without the travel. I googled for recipe, and was smitten with the pictures by Smitten Kitchen, and knew it must be awesome, and yes, yes it is!

I have followed the recipe religiously, made no changes, and it was an amazing successful result, did not crack AT ALL! Try this cheesecake for yourself. You will love it, and it is rather simple. Enjoy!

Baklava with semolina flour


I have tried many different versions of baklava, but I have completely fallen in love with this one. Filling with semolina flour made it more like a mix between traditional baklava and a soaked biscuit. It's just awesome! Keep in mind that you don't have to make it too sweet, you can always adjust the syrup to your liking by reducing the sugar.Recipe adapted from Lorena at Coolinarika. Delicious, I will be making this again for sure. Thank you!Baklava with semolina flour1 package phyllo doughsome oil to brush Filling:4 eggs                                                                                                                                                                                         7 tbs sugar7 tbs semolina flour                                                                                         1 stick plus 1 tbs of butter room temp.                                                                                          1 dcl milk                                                                                            200 gr ground walnutsSyrup:3 1/2 cups sugar4 cups waterjuice of one lemon (optional)I have added 2 tsp vanilla sugar (optional)Preheat oven to 400 F.lightly grease 9x13 pan with butter or oil.Mix eggs with sugar, add butter, semolina flour, and milk, mix well then add walnuts.Lay out one phyllo sheet, and lightly brush with oil all over, then place another sheet over it and brush again. Spread filling over, not to thick, and then roll it up. Place in pan, trip if ne4eded to fit.In original recipe it says to cut it into squares, but[...]

Bear claws - photo recipe


I have a thing for old recipes, old world style food. The kind of food that goes and on, and I can't imagine special occasions without something traditional, and unchanged. These cookies are kind of like vanilla crescents, melt away in your mouth, and can't stop with one.

Perfect with coffee or tea time, or any time.

Best chocolate cake ever!


It's been more than a while, but though I have been absent from blogosphere, I haven't been absent in my tiny kitchen. I would like to make a comeback, and what better way than with raising awareness to this awesome cake by Gail Watson of A Stack of Dishes.

Moist, rich, and of course delicious! I have tried this cake last year sometime, and it's become our favorite, instantly! Must try. You can find the recipe here.

Happy Holiday Baking!


Dear foodie friends,

Holiday baking has started in my house, and it smells soooo good. So gingery, warm and comforting.

I though of my blog, and how much I love and miss blogging, and I though of all my foodies. One of them is Shelby of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch. I got an email from her, that just melted my heart; never though she would remember… We started blogging around the same time, and I was one of her first readers, as she was mine. I loved her blog instantly because it is so full of life, love, and good food, and the author is so engaging with her beautiful personality. I am yet to email her back, more on that some other time… Thank you Shelby!

I have had the blog set to private because I was being overwhelmed with questions about recipes, and I never had time to answer them, so I felt like it would be best to close the blog because I am so unavailable. I have also had my fair share of mean comments, anonymous of course, and I guess I got tired of that.

However lots of people also emailed me asking to be added as readers, or to simply make the blog public again, so here it goes. I am so grateful for your wonderful emails, and kind words. Thank you!

With the blog open again, I just cannot promise I will email back responses to your questions as promptly as active food bloggers would. Nature of my job is complicated, I work a lot, sleep very little, never know what the next day will be like, and never can commit to anything but work… I do miss you all, and I miss my kitchen…

I am happy there is still a day here and there when I can actually bake, like this morning, I made these gingerbread cookies with my kids (well I made the dough the day before). Yes, we love Gingy from Shrek! They are now adorning our Christmas tree, and they are also delicious. You can find the recipe here.

Happy Holiday baking!

Cold Cubes


For Lydia! Thank you for emailing me, glad you like this cake! I have made this cake so many times, I don‘t even look for the recipe any more. It is simple, delicious, juicy, classic, and a real good dessert for summer, because we don’t always feel like eating fruity stuff just because it‘s berries season! I wanted to share how to make it with as much detail as possible. For the biscuit:6 eggs6 tbs flour6 tbs sugar1 heaping tbs cocoa powder (or a bit more for a darker & more flavorful result)2 tsp baking powderTo soak:3 cups water1 ½ - 2 cups sugar (however sweet you want the cake to be, filling is not too sweet because this is supposed to be)For vanilla/banana filling:2 (50g/1.75oz) vanilla puddings, cook 7 serve kind (or 1 vanilla, 1 banana)You can substitute pudding for corn starch, same measurements, and add vanilla extract, or banana extract3 2/3 cup milk8-10 tbs sugar8oz/ 2 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine, room temperatureChocolate glaze:100g/3.5 oz dark chocolate (I used Dove dark chocolate silky smooth promises)3 tbs oil(or use your own chocolate glaze or ganache recipe)First make the filling/custard. Mix pudding mix/corn starch with sugar and some of the milk, like ¾ cup, until there are no more lumps. Set the remainder of the milk to boil, reduce the heat, and gradually stir in pudding mix, but mixing fast, until it thickens, and starts erupting. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and cool to room temperature. Cover the pudding so the skin wouldn’t form on top, and mix occasionally too.When cooled to room temperature, add the butter or margarine (very important that its room temperature, both butter and the custard/filling), and mix well with a hand mixer. I normally add few drops of banana extract no matter how I made the filling,While you’re waiting for the pudding to cool, make the biscuit. Preheat oven to 400° F. In one bowl mix egg whites until stiff enough that it wouldn’t fall out of the bowl if you flipped it upside down :)Mix egg yolks with sugar until frothy, then add the egg whites, and fold in, then mix only a little just till it’s all incorporated nicely. Mix flour with baking powder and coca powder, and gradually add it to the eggs. Mix well, but don’t over mix. Pour it into a baking dish. I use 15”x10” glass baking dish, no need to line it, or grease and flour it. Bake until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. One trick to have the biscuit come out nice and even is to slightly raise the baking dish from the countertop and then let it fall (have a kitchen towel on the countertop for a smooth landing :) ), several times, this releases the air out of the batter, works like a charm. When it’s baked, it will be quite dry, but should be nicely risen, and even. Cool completely, poke with a toothpick all over, then boil sugar and water, and pour it over the biscuit. This will create a bit of mess on top, because the top skin with mush up, for the lack of a better word, but you can very easily remove that by scraping it with a spoon. Let it cool again, then spread the custard/filling over it, and even it out. You do all this in a baking dish, no need to take it out of the dish. I normally get the exact same height of the filling and biscuit, but this time that didn’t happen. No worries, still equally delicious.In a double boiler melt the chocolate, and mix in 3 tbs of oil, or you can do this in a microwave if you’re skilled enough. Pour the chocolate as evenly as possible all over the cake, then even it out with a spoon or spatula, whatever works. Cool in a fridge at least over night, and before serving cool in a freezer for a short time, just until it’s very cold, but not frozen. First piece of cake is impossible to cut out perfe[...]

Kate By Gayle


This post is a special thanks to Gayle from Gayle’s Chocolates, a Royal Oak, Michigan chocolate company, who was so kind to send me a sample of her sweet work, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I received the package, and got my very own “Kate”! Why Kate? Keep reading…

My 11-year-old daughter’s eyes were as wide as they can get, as she starred at my beautiful chocolate shoe, and I was battling with my mother’s instinct; I just couldn’t say the words “you can have it”, I needed to own it at least until the photo shoot was over, and maybe some time spent in a display for everyone to see : )
No worries, it is now her “Kate”, along with all the bragging rights! I love you baby!

This beautiful chocolate high heel shoe was designed in honor of the British Royal Wedding, and is respectively named "The Kate". It’s made of premium white chocolate, with dark chocolate jewel, and dusted with non-toxic edible pearl and sapphire dust, and it measures 7 inches long and 5-1/2 inches tall. Look how beautifully packaged it is!

I know that in order to provide you with a full review, I should say what it tastes like, but I can’t bring myself to bite into it, it’s to adorable. I can say this though, it’s smells sooooo good, and soooo creamy, I simply know it’s delicious! As soon as I get a replacement for Kate, and I have my eyes set on a few beautiful creations by Gayle, I will update this post, and tell you all about it.

I am so proud to have been invited by a local Michigan company to sample their work, it’s a great honor. Whether you live in Michigan, or not, be sure to visit Gayle’s Chocolates, and surprise your loved one with one of many beautiful creations Gayle makes, or a box of her handmade truffles or chocolates.

Apple Cake


There is still no spring in sight, at least here in Michigan; we get a teaser here and there, but the heat is still running, and the birds are still hiding in the trees, confused… Well, at least I managed to get some spring on my table, by making a fruit cake with some spring tone to it. I got the recipe for this cake from my late mother in law, and it’s my husband’s favorite. Happy Easter to all who celebrate this weekend!

Apple Cake
5-6 medium apples (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Red Rome, McIntosh)
Some ground walnuts to fill the apples
Some vanilla sugar to sprinkle

4 eggs
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp oil
4 heaping tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp sugar
1 fruit pudding powder (cook & serve kind), strawberry or some other kind
4 oz (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature

Make the cream first. Mix pudding powder, sugar, and some milk (out of those 1 1/3 cups) until there are no lumps. Boil rest of the milk, reduce heat, and gradually, but quickly add the pudding mixture, stir fast, and cook for a minute until it thickens. It will be very thick. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the skin wouldn’t form on the top. Cool to room temperature, then with a hand mixer, mix in the butter (or margarine) with some powdered sugar ( I have added only about 1 ½ tbsp).

While waiting for pudding to cool, preheat oven to 395° F. Peel, and core apples, and trim them if necessary so they fit nicely in a 9 inch spring form pan. You can use 5 in a circle, or 6 with one in the middle, depending how big the apples are. Fill them with ground walnuts, just as much can fit, don’t over pack, then sprinkle the tops with vanilla sugar. No worries if some walnuts fall into the pan, it’s all good, and it will be baked in for a better cake.

Bake apples for about 15-20 minutes, really depends on which apples you picked; just don’t over bake them, they have some more baking to do when you pour the biscuit mixture over them. So, when they just started softening in the oven (check often), pour the biscuit mixture over them, and do it slowly, making sure you coated each apple. Reduce the heat to 375° F. The biscuit will rise to the height of apples. Bake for about 20 minutes. When it’s nice golden color, check with a toothpick to see if it’s done. Let it cool to room temperature.

When cooled, flip it upside down onto a cake platter, spread the cream evenly over the top, and frost generously with whipped cream. I use powdered whipped cream, because I can control the consistency of it, and I prefer it’s taste over heavy whipping cream. Cool in fridge, and enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins


Woke up this morning to another round of snow! Yes, it didn’t stick around, however it has managed to ruin my day…well, for a while anyway... I have decided to make something comforting, something simple, something I could enjoy within 30 minutes of mixing it up…and who doesn’t like muffins? Blueberry are my favorite. It was a joy watching them rise in the oven, and a real nice way to start, and improve what was to be a bad day.

Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
Coarse sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin pan cups (obviously, I have used stand alone paper muffin cups). Set aside.
Stir together flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, butter, and orange peel; add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. If desired, sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Makes 12.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Esterhazy Torte


It’s been a while yet again, but here I am, found some time to make a cake, yeah!!! Couple of weeks ago my kids’ godmother asked me if I ever made Esterhazy Cake. I didn’t until now, and I remembered my dear foodie friend Marija of Palachinka Blog (this links to recipe) did, so I paid her blog a visit, and promised myself I would make it.

Toasted almonds, and vanilla cream sounded heavenly, and I can’t believe I never made this cake before. I was a bit hesitant to commit myself to making 6-7 biscuit layers, but I just bought a pretty large Amish table, so I had no excuse, had plenty of surface to work on.

I was intimidated with making the white cake mirror with raw egg white; don’t really trust the eggs from the grocery store, so I opted for plain powdered sugar with orange juice instead (200g powdered sugar + 5 tbs freshly squeezed lemon/orange juice), and of course it gave me different results, and the cake isn’t as pretty as Marija’s. However, I am pretty sure that my impatience had a lot to do with it as well, as I hurried to make the net, and the whole thing started running down the sides; that was the moment I have instructed everyone to move out of the kitchen/dining area!!!!

All was great though, the next morning, when I finally tasted the darn thing, and decided I have found another favorite! The whole family loved it, and that’s rare, usually someone stays reserved.
Please consider making this cake, it is absolutely scrumptious!!!

Bohemian Cake


Lots of eggs makes for lots of cause for concern, but it also makes a great cake, with a smooth, and silky filling. Thin slices is all you need to enjoy this rich cake, and it’s very presentable, and pretty. Only I don’t like thin slices; instead I have indulged, and dusted off my treadmill to make up for it. Dusting takes care of the extra calories --- my treadmill is actually out of order : )
For all of you adventurous souls out there. Enjoy!

Bohemian Cake

For the filling:
15 egg yolks
4 tbs corn starch
7 ½ dl milk
300g sugar
4 tsp vanilla sugar
200g unsalted butter or margarine (room temperature)
100g dark chocolate
2 dl heavy whipping cream
1 whipping cream stabilizer
Powdered sugar (to taste) to sweeten the whipping cream

For the cake layers:
15 egg whites
300g sugar
350g ground walnuts
3 tbs all purpose flour

To make the filling:
Cook 7 dl milk, sugar and vanilla sugar in a pan, until it starts boiling. Mix egg yolks, ½ dl of milk, and corn starch until well combined, and there are no lumps. Mix it into boiling milk, reduce heat, and stir quickly. Cook for few minutes until thick. Let it cool to room temperature.
When cooled mix in the butter until nice and silky. Divide into two, and add melted chocolate into one part. Let it cool for a while in the fridge until you make the cake layers.

To make the cake layers:
Preheat oven to 395° F. Mix egg whites and sugar on a high speed until stiff meringue forms. Add walnuts and flour, and combine, but don’t over mix. Divide into three, and bake three cake layers. Cool the layers before applying the filling. I have used 9” spring form pans.
To assemble:
Divide the two fillings into 2 parts each. Arrange in the following order: cake layer, one part vanilla filling spread evenly over the cake layer. Then place one part of the chocolate filling in a ziploc bag, make a hole in one corner, and squeeze over the vanilla filling evenly in a circular motion starting from the middle. Repeat with another cake layer, vanilla filling, then chocolate filling, then top with the last cake layer. Apply whipped cream all over the cake, and decorate as you wish.

Adapted from magazine “Gurman” with minor modifications.

Chocolate Charlotte with Bananas


Hello my dear food bloggers, followers, and friends. It’s been a while, and I’m very appreciative that a lot of you still visit, and ask about my whereabouts. I miss blogging, and discovering what you’ve made every day.
Except for working too much, not much is new with me. I’m still holding on to my 20s, which is proving harder every day, esp. first thing in the morning before I apply layers of makeup : )

Like many of you, I’m enjoying the serene winter scenery, minus the morning car troubles, and huge winter heating bills. I have a had a great Holiday season, with December 31st being my busiest work day, and for the first time in my adult life I fell asleep and woke up next year without my share of New Years Champagne.
My family petitioned yesterday that I reclaim my throne in the kitchen and finally make something homemade. Well, I cheated a little, but it’s almost completely home made.

I decided to go though the whole usual works of making them wait for dessert till I snap a few images to share with you. Hope you like it, and hope you are all having a great New Year!

Chocolate Charlotte with Bananas

1 package lady fingers
Some milk to soak the ladyfingers

2 packs Dr. Oetker pudding (available at ethnic stores, Italian fruit markets, or Meijer if you have one)
3 1/3 cup milk
9 tbs sugar
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

Set 2,5 cups milk to boil. Use the remainder of milk to mix pudding powder and sugar, the add to boiling milk, reduce heat, and stir quickly for few minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Combine with butter (or margarine).

For the biscuit:
3 eggs
6 tbs sugar
0.5 dcl/ 1.7 oz milk
0.5 dcl/ 1.7 oz oil
7 tbs flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Mix eggs with sugar, add oil, milk, then flour mixed with baking powder. Bake until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I have used the 8” pan.

To assemble:
Line a glass bowl with clear plastic wrap. Dip lady fingers into lukewarm milk, but don’t soak them too much, just quickly, and arrange them around the bowl wall. Add 1/3 filling to the bottom, then add a layer of lady fingers on top of it (not soaked), then 1/3 of filling, then 2 whole bananas bent a little to make a circle, then remainder of the filling, and close it all up with a biscuit. Let cool in the fridge over night, then flip it onto a cake stand. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy.
Note: It is very important to have the pudding and the butter at the same temperature, or it won’t combine nicely. Mine was not so perfect because I was impatient, or shall I say the entire family was : )

Thumbprint Cookie Craze


It was just one of those days, when the weather is gorgeous, and you have all the time on your hands, and you crave sugar! Just had to make something quick, so I pulled out my "Baking from my home to yours" book by Dorie Greenspan, and landed my eyes on thumbprint cookies.Actually never made them before, and it sounded like they would taste like vanilla crescents, which I LOVE! They do, with a bonus of fruity marmalade/jam.I have more than enjoyed these cookies, and I have really gone crazy with varieties of jams/marmalades. Worked well with all of the flavors, though for my taste Red cornel aka European cornel, was just perfect. Is there someone out there who never had these cookies? If yes, you better hurry up, it’s way to simple, and way too melt-in-your-mouth delicious to pass up!Thumbprints for us big guysFrom “Baking: From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan1 3/4 cups finely ground hazelnuts(I have used walnuts, almonds are fine too)1 3/4 cups all-purpose flower2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature1/2 cup sugar1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon pure almond extractConfectioner’s sugar, for dustingAbout 1 cup raspberry jam (or the jam or marmalade of your choice)Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Whisk together ground nuts and flour.Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the extracts and beat to blend. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the nut-flower mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated into the dough. Working with a teaspoonful of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms to form small balls and place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Steadying each cookie with the thumb and forefinger of one hand, use the pinkie of your other hand (or the end of a wooden spoon) to poke a hole in the center of each cookie. Be careful not to go all the way down to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be only slightly colored–they may even look underdone, which is fine: they should not be overbaked. When the cookies are baked, remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks with a wide metal spatula and sifting confectioner’s sugar over them.Repeat with the remaining dough, remembering to cool the baking sheets before baking the next batch. Bring jam to a boil in a small saucepan over low heat, or bring to a boil in a microwave oven; remove from the heat. Fill the indentations of all the cookies with enough of the hot jam to come level with the tops. Cool to room temperature.Enjoy! Share! [...]

No Bake Butter Biscuits Cake


This cake is always on demand in my house, and it’s not just simple to make, but it’s really good. You can make it in so many variations, and flavors. There is simply no excuse not make this one. I can bake all day, making the most extravagant cake ever, but I know it will not be swept clean off the platter as quickly as this one. Makes my life easy :)To make it you’ll need:about 2 lb (more or less) butter biscuits (rectangular butter cookies, crunchy, see here)2 (1.7 oz each) chocolate pudding powder (not the instant one)2 ½ cups milk, for pudding6 tbsp of sugar2 tbsp (or more if you like sweeter) powdered, confectioners sugar2 sticks butter or margarine, unsalted, room temperatureWhipped cream2 cups (or as needed) milk, warm, to soak the biscuits* If you don’t have chocolate pudding powder, for this recipe you can substitute with 2.7 oz corn starch, and 2-3 tbsp of cocoa powder (depends how chocolaty you want it).* The pudding will be quite stiff, esp. when cooled to room temperature, but with butter added, it will be a very nice filling.Make pudding by mixing pudding powder, sugar, and about a cup of lukewarm milk in a smaller bowl. Set the rest of the milk (1 ½ cup) to boil, reduce heat, then add the pudding mix, mix constantly, and cook for about a minute. Let it cool to room temperature, stirring often, so the skin wouldn’t form on the top.With a mixer, on medium speed, mix pudding mix, and butter (or margarine), both at room temperature, until blended nicely. Add powdered sugar to sweeten it more, if desired.Line the square deeper dish, or square baking pan, (the smaller, but deeper dish will make for a taller cake) with foil or plastic wrap, and start arranging butter biscuits on the bottom, soaked in warm milk for about 5-10 seconds each, soak several at the time. Don’t over soak the biscuits or the cake will be too moist, and it won’t cut nicely. The biscuits will get moisture from the butter cream too.Layer like that, one layer biscuits, one layer butter cream (about as thick as the biscuits), until all buttercream is used, and biscuits are on the top. Cover top with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for few hours at least. Remove plastic wrap from top, place square platter over it, and flip the cake onto it. Top with lots of whipping cream, and chill some more. Cut, serve, share, enjoy!This simple dessert is my entry to Magic Bullet To Go Giveaway, for which you can find details @ Fun and Food Cafe. You could win a Magic Bullet Food processor, and it's really simple. Thank you for the invite Mansi!Open wide :)[...]

Hi Hat Cupcakes


What better to do on a rainy day, but make cupcakes?! I wanted to make these New York gems for a long time, and finally time has come for me to do so! I am not a big fan of dark chocolate coating, or glaze, so I have used milk chocolate, and also I have added another twist by making the meringue with banana flavor. Awesome decision, for my taste buds anyway ;) Kids have stuck to frosting their cupcakes with store bought frosting, and tons of sprinkles, and they are now running around on a sugar high :)I made these cupcakes following a recipe from "Cupcakes", by Elinor Klivans (great book, esp. for novice cupcake bakers), and I have followed it precisely. They don't look as fancy as hers, but for a first time, I think they turned out excellent.I had just a tiny problem, once I got them out of the oven, they did sink a little bit. Texture was stil fine, very moist, and they taste wonderful, just wondering if that had anything to do with a bit cooler weather, and a draft I have created in the kitchen with two open windows? Probably...For 18 regular, 12 big-top, or 12 extra large, or 60 mini cupcakes: Chocolate sour cream cupcake batter 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped 1 cup unbleached AP flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 1/4 cups sugar 2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup waterPreheat oven to 350 F. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, or in microwave if you are experienced to do so.Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, incorporate well, and set aside for later.Beat the sugar and butter on high speed until creamy. Add the melted chocolate on low speed, and beat until combined.Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until batter lightens in color, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream and mix until there is no more white spots.Add half of the flour mixture, combine, then add water, mix well, and add the rest of the flour mixtrue, and mix until nicely combined.Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full, then bake for about 20 minutes, more or less, depends, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool.Filling1 ¾ cups sugar½ cup water3 large egg whites¼ tsp cream of tartar1 tsp vanilla extract½ tsp almond extract (I have used only banana extract)Coating2 cups (12 oz0 semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped)3 tbsp canola or vegetable oilMix sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar in a top of a double boiler (or heat proof bowl) with at least 2 quart capacity and beat with a hand held electric mixer (watch that mixer cord next to the heater) on high speed until opaque, white and foamy, about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of a barely simmering water. Beat on high speed for about 12 minutes, or until it registers 160°F on a thermometer. Remove the container from water, add vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 more minutes to thicken it some more. It will get thicker as it cools on the cupcakes.Pipe the spirals of filling into a 2 inch cone on top of the cupcakes, using a freezer bag, or pastry bag fitted with plain pastry tip. Place cupcakes on a platter, and put the in the refrigerator until coating is done.To make the coating melt the chocolate with oil until melted and smooth, in a double boiler, or microwave (if experienced). Scrape it into a small bowl for easier coating. Cool slightly, about 15 min. Hold each cupcake by its bottom, and di[...]

Donauwellen ("Danube Waves")


I have made this cake many times, there are so many recipes out there, but now I got the Dr. Oetker German Baking Today cookbook, and decided to try this recipe. It is really great! Very rich cake, interesting, and delicious. I love how the batter turned out, just perfect!I have used a 9 inch round spring form pan, normally this cake is made in a rectangular shape, and served as slices, or cubes. Because of that I have used less chocolate topping.Also, I make the chocolate topping by melting chopped chocolate pieces with heavy cream. I just keep adding heavy cream (not whipped) until I am pleased with the texture.I only had frozen tart cherries, fresh (jarred or canned) would make for much nicer appearance, and create perfect waves between the two batter layers. Google it for better images of what it should look like.My family was very pleased, the only critique they had was that perhaps more butter cream would make it even better : )Donauwellen (“Danube waves”)Makes about 20 piecesFor a baking sheet (40 x 30 cm) which is about 16 x12 inches:some fataluminum foil (if using a baking sheet, not pan)Batter:2 jars or cans of sour cherries (drained weight approx. 350 g each), or fresh, pitted250 g/9 oz soft margarine or butter200 g/7 oz sugar3 drops vanilla extract in 1 tbsp sugar1 pinch salt5 medium eggs375 g/13/½ oz AP flour3 level tsp baking powder20 g / ¾ oz cocoa2 tsp milkButter Cream:40g/ 1 ½ oz custard powder 9or 1 packet Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding)100 g/ 3 ½ oz sugar500 ml/ 17 fl oz milk250 g/ 9 oz soft butterTopping:200 g/ 7 oz plain chocolate4 tsp oil (cooking)Preheat oven to about 180° C/ 350 °F. Grease the baking sheet. Thoroughly drain the cherries. To make the cake mixture, stir the softened margarine or butter with a hand mixer with a whisk, until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt, stir until mixture thickens. Add 1 egg at a time, whisking each one for about ½ minute at the highest setting.Mix together the flour and baking powder, sift and add to margarine or butter mixture in two stages, briefly stirring with a mixer at the medium setting. Spread 2/3 of the mixture on the greased baking sheet. Sift the cocoa powder and add with the milk to the rest of the batter, and spread it on top of the light batter. Place a strip of aluminum foil along the open end of the baking sheet to form and edge (no need for this if you are using a pan). Dry the sour cherries quickly on kitchen paper, then arrange them on the dark colored cake mixture, pressing them lightly into place. Bake for about 40 minutes.Take the cake of the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack, or if using a pan, just cool it in a pan.Make the butter cream filling, make the custard with the custard powder, sugar and milk, following the instructions on a packet. Leave the custard to cool down (don’t refrigerate), and stir occasionally.Stir the softened butter with a hand mixer with whisk until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Stir in the cooled custard, by the spoonful, making sure that the butter and the custard are both at room temperature because the butter cream could curdle otherwise. Spread the butter cream on the cooled cake, and smooth out the surface. Refrigerate for about an hour.To make the chocolate topping, coarsely chop the plain chocolate and melt it with the oil in a double boiler, or however you usually do so ( I did it in microwave). Pour the chocolate coating over the set butter cream,[...]

Nameless Berry Cake


Haven’t been able to post at all, and what’s even worse I haven’t had much time to bake either.
I really missed the homemade baked goods, so the other day I caught a little time to make something simple.
No time to browse through never-ending collection of books, and magazines, or Internet, so I just whipped up a dessert from some recipes that I know by heart.

This no name berry studded cake is made of following:
1 recipe cocoa sponge you can find here
1 recipe vanilla cream you can find here
Whipped cream and fresh berries
Orange juice for soaking

I have made one sponge, in a 9 x 13 inch pan, and cut it in half lengthwise.
I find that this way I can make desserts more often, and it’s just enough for entire family, with possibility of some leftovers too.

I have soaked the sponge (when cool) with fresh squeezed orange juice, but you can soak it with other juices, or even alcoholic beverages, as long as you don't serve it to little ones.
Spread with about half of cream, top with berries, and a little bit more cream so the other half of sponge would stick nicely, then spread again with leftover vanilla cream, whipped cream, and garnish with berries. Possibilities are endless, other fruit, no fruit, chocolate cream, etc.
Chill well, and enjoy!

Cheers my dear foodies, and thank you for your continued loyalty, and support!

Torte Reform



I couldn’t find anything on this fabulous cake, it’s history, and where it gets it’s name from, but that didn’t stop me from trying to make this delicious cake loaded with walnuts, and chocolate cream.

Torte Reform

For the layers:
10 egg whites
300g (10.14oz) fine sugar
300g (10.14oz)ground walnuts
2 tbsp flour

For the cream:
10 egg yolks
200g (6.76oz) sugar
100g (3.38oz) baking or dark chocolate,
(Chocolate can be increased/decreased to one’s own liking)
250g (8.45oz) unsalted butter or margarine,
3 tbsp very strong coffee (optional)

Beat egg whites, and sugar until firm, and then gradually add walnuts and flour. Divide this batter into 4-5 parts, and bake each in an 8 inch spring form pan in the preheated oven @ 355° F (180° C) for about 20 minutes.

To make the cream mix egg yolks with sugar and cook in a double boiler, mixing constantly. Add chocolate, and cook and mix some more until it starts to thicken.
Remove form the heat, and add the coffee. Let cool completely, and then mix in butter.
I recommend first making the cream, and set it in fridge to cool until you’re done with the layers. The cream is quite stiff, so to spread it over the layers, divide it in how ever many sections you’ll need to spread over each layer, and put the entire amount needed for one layer in the middle, then spread towards the edges.
This is a really delicious, rich, and satisfying torte!
Recipe adapted from Coolinarika.