Nov 30, 2008

Intercontinental Cake - Two Birthdays

Intercontinental Cake
Saturday was my son's, and my birthday! We had a lot of fun with family, and friends! Even though I haven't planned on having a party, getting together at my house always turns into one!

For my son, and myself, I have made this truly rich cake, perfect for celebrations, with layers, and layers of cake and cream! Bound to get some compliments! Honestly, with some organization before hand it is not hard to make at all; it took me less than two hours to complete, and I have decorated it the next day, just few hours before guests arrived. We also got one fantastic cake as a gift, so you can imagine we were all pretty sugar high, and still are! :)

I am not much of a decorator, I got so much to learn in that department, but a slice itself is pretty enough. Make cream first, because cake part is easy , and cake layers cool pretty fast.

Intercontinental Cake
Intercontinental cake
adapted form SerbianCafe

For the filling:
15 egg yolks
1 liter milk
20 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp corn starch
4 Tsp vanilla sugar
1 cup powdered, confectioners sugar
4 sticks / about 450g margarine or butter, unsalted,
200 g chocolate, dark
Whipped cream, and cream stabilizer to decorate
Some ground walnuts to decorate

Mix egg yolks with sugar, and vanilla sugar, until nicely combined, and frothy. Add 1 cup milk (from one liter), flour, and corn starch. Set the rest of the milk to boil. When it starts boiling, add the yolk mixture gradually, mixing well, so not to get lumps; reduce heat, and cook for few minutes, mixing constantly.

Transfer cream to a bowl, and let it cool a little before placing it in the fridge to cool completely. Once it’s cool mix in margarine or butter, which you first mixed with powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar, if you like it sweeter.

Now you can either divide into three, and add 200 g of chocolate (melted, and cooled slightly) into one third, 200 g fine shredded coconut into the second third, and 200 g walnut meal into the last third.
I have just separated one third, and left it as it is, and added 200 g chocolate into two thirds, and thus got more light chocolate filling, and one plain vanilla.

For the cake layers:
15 egg whites
15 Tbsp sugar
15 Tbsp flour
30 Tbsp ground walnuts, walnut meal
3 Tsp baking powder

In a stand mixer, mix egg whites, gradually adding sugar, until stiff. Slowly add flour mixed with baking powder, then fold in walnuts, and combine well. Divide into three, and bake each layer in a 8” round, spring form pan. Cool each layer, and soak each evenly, with ¼ cup warm milk.
If you got three flavor creams, then spread each layer with a different cream, in any order you like.

To assemble:
Here is my order, since I only did chocolate and vanilla:
Cake layer, chocolate cream, cake layer, vanilla cream, cake layer, chocolate cream, and some chocolate all around. Then I used whipped cream all over and for decoration, and sprinkled with ground walnuts. Yummy!

King's Cake

My son, waiting to grab his heart! One for mommy, one for him! This beautiful creation, called "King's Cake", was done by a friend! I guess I know now where to turn for decorating classes! :) Delicious! Thank you, Edita!

Nov 25, 2008

Chess Roll

Chess Roll
I love making this for the Holidays, because of the quantity, and everyone loves it. Sponge cakes rolled into wafer sheets, and tied together with caramel cream! Yum!
Never mind that my husband can down one whole roll in one evening, and not gain an ounce!!! Skeleton! This w/e is a big one for my family, not only because of the Thanksgiving, but also my son and I share a birthday on Saturday!

Chess Roll

You'll need:
Wafer sheets- Oblatne, they’re about 9x13”
For the sponge:
5 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 395 F. Mix eggs with sugar, then add oil, combine, then add milk, gradually add flour mixed with baking powder. Divide into two, and in one half add cocoa powder.
Bake both cake mixes in a 9x13” square pan, separately, of course. I usually make 3 rolls, which means I need 6 brown, and 6 yellow stripes of the sponge cakes. So, cut the cooled cakes into 6 stripes each, and trim them, if necessary to get nice, even stripes.

For the caramel cream:
400g /13.5 oz sugar
0.9 l / 30 oz milk
6 Tbsp corn starch
1 stick margarine or butter, about 125g
2 tsp vanilla sugar, or some vanilla extract

Caramelize the sugar (don’t burn it), then add milk, minus one cup, and add vanilla sugar. The other cup of milk you mix with corn starch, and then add to boiling caramel milk. Mix well, and fast, not to get lumps. When it thickens, remove, cool down a little, and while still quite warm, mix in the margarine, or butter.

To assemble: Chess Roll
Take 3 wafer sheets, and spread with warm caramel cream on the sides with larger ridges. Remember to save some cream for filling in between cake stripes. Somewhere in the middle of each wafer sheet start placing the cake stripes, lengthwise, one yellow, one brown, and spread some caramel cream in between, and on top. Then place two on top of those two, just switch the order to get the checkered look. Now roll the wafer around it, and tighten with kitchen towels, or plastic wrap. Chill, and serve!

Tips: I have read that they can also be frozen, and taste just as good as fresh made, when thawed. If you get bigger wafers, they come in different sizes, then you double everything, and bake in a larger pan. Meaning you would make one yellow cake according to directions above, and one brown one.

Wish I could give credit to a particular author, but I have adapted it to my own liking from so many different authors, and since it’s such a traditional cake in the former Yugoslavia, there is no way in knowing who is the originator.

Makes a great gift for Holiday season! You keep some, you give some :)

Nov 24, 2008

French Macarons - First Attempt

French Macarons
Finally! I gathered all my courage, and gave these beautiful French macarons a try! I wanted to make them for so long, they are so pretty, and I always wondered what it would be like to bite into one.

Even though I don’t think I was quite successful, they are amazing!
I never tried them before, so I have no idea how good mine are, but I believe they should have been more “cake-like” soft. The taste is great, I like it!

For the crispiness I think weather had something to do with it. Also, I think I have beaten them at the end a little bit more than needed, and finally, maybe even baked them a minute or two too long because I was scared to take them out too soon. In any event I am so making them again, and hopefully they will turn out a bit more moist, and less crunchy. Recipe is truly wonderful, easy to follow, and they are pretty, and glossy! I filled them with chocolate butter cream from this recipe (cut ingredients in half).

I have followed a recipe for these macarons by Helen of Tartlette; she has published a Step-by-Step French Macaron tutorial in the second issue of Desserts Magazine. Thank you Helen! I absolutely love them, and can’t wait to experiment with other flavors, and colors!

Nov 19, 2008

Moist Yogurt Cake With Tart Cherries

Moist Yogurt Cake With Tart Cherries My kitchen is infused with the aromas of vanilla, and fresh baked home goodness. Can’t wait for my kids to come home from school; this is a great after school bite! You have no excuse not to make this, it is rather simple, and it’s not time consuming. You’ll have it ready to serve within an hour, that is if you can’t wait for it to cool down. I should add that it is even better when completely cooled, and stored in a plastic bag, yummy!

Moist yogurt cake with tart cherries

You’ll need:
3 eggs
1 cup of plain yogurt
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ cup oil
2 Tsp baking powder
2 Tsp vanilla sugar
About 2 cups of tart cherries( no more, or everything will collapse, and will not bake evenly),I use the frozen ones (thawed, of course).

Get ready beforehand. Measure all ingredients in separate bowls, and have a baking dish ready; I use 9x13 inch square one. Preheat oven to 395 F.
Add baking powder to flour, and mix well, this will assure that it is evenly incorporated.
Place cherries in their own bowl, and add about 2 Tbsp of flour, and shake them, so they get coated with flour, this is very important.

Now, with a hand mixer, mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Then add yogurt, and oil, and mix well. Gradually add flour mixed with baking powder, and again, mix well. Now you have the base; nice, medium thick, kind of like muffin batter. Add the cherries, and fold them in gently, and as evenly as you can, don’t overdo it. Transfer to a baking dish, and gently even it out. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and it‘s nice and golden in color. Dust with powdered sugar.

Tip: I have never tried, but I am sure this cake can also be made in form of muffins, only I would think in that case, you would add cherries individually into each mold, but also coated in flour.

Here is another fruity goodness you might be interested in, from my dear foodie over at Palachinka blog.

Nov 18, 2008

Gingery, Garlicky, Potato Chicken Dish

This was my favorite dinner served by my friend, who moved back to China, and I miss her, and her beautiful little girl so very much.
The dish has a very strong garlic, and ginger flavor that I just can’t get enough of. Certainly not something you want to make for a romantic evening, but definitely something you want to unleash your hunger on!
Thank you Jing for sharing the recipe with me! Hope to see you soon!

Gingery, Garlicky, Potato Chicken Dish

You’ll need:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 lb potatoes, cut into cubes
Ginger, about 1-2 oz, diced
7-8 garlic cloves, diced
Dash of sugar
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbs soy sauce
Black pepper

Heat some oil in the pan, when it gets hot, put chicken in, and stir a little bit, then add ginger and 2 garlic cloves. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce, stir for few minutes, and then add potatoes, the rest of garlic, another tablespoon of soy sauce, a dash of sugar, black pepper to taste, and then add about 4 oz of water. Stir, reduce to medium heat, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes.

Later add salt, and more water as necessary, and stir occasionally. Cook until potatoes are cooked. In the end you don’t want it to be like a stew, but rather for water to dehydrate, and potatoes very soft, and falling apart. Serve with rice. Yum!

This is my entry for the blog event, “ajme, koliko nas je” created by Monsoon, and hosted this month by Andrea.
Napravicu I link sa prevodom : )

Nov 16, 2008

Vanilla slice - Krempita

Vanilla slice - Krempita

2 sheets of puff pastry
1,5 l / 6 1/3 cups milk
150 g / 5 ¼ oz corn starch
3 packets (9g each) vanilla sugar
8 egg yolks
200 g / 7 oz sugar
8 oz whipping cream + 1 stabilizer

Let the puff pastry sheets thaw, the roll them out on a lightly floured surface, and bake according to directions on a jelly roll pan. Let them cool, and then cut out the shape according to the size of the square pan you will use. I used 9 inch x 13 inch. Once you cut them to the shape of the pan, cut one sheet into squares (I made 12); that will be the top of the cake.

Cream: Mix egg yolks with sugar, until frothy. Add a cup of milk (out of the 6 1/3 cups), and corn starch, and mix well. Set the reminder of milk with vanilla sugar added, to boil, and when it comes to a boil, slowly mix in the yolk mixture, and stir constantly for a minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let cool completely. When cooled, add the whipped whipping cream, whipped with a stabilizer.

Now put the whole sheet on the bottom of the pan, and spread the filling over it. Arrange the cut out sheet on top. Refrigerate for few hours before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.
Instead of the top sheet of puff pastry, you can put whipped cream, and so on. Suit yourself, and enjoy : )

Nov 11, 2008

Ladybug Bread


500g/1.1 lb flour
1 egg +1 egg yolk
¼ cup oil
7g/¼ oz, 1 packet, yeast
1 Tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
About 1 ½ cup milk and water mix, warm

Start the yeast in a small bowl with a tsp of sugar, and a little bit of warm milk. Mix all ingredients, adding milk/water mixture as needed, more or less than the recipe calls to get medium soft dough. If you like sweet bread, add more sugar.

Let it rise, until it doubles, then work it on a floured surface, and shape one small ball, one large ball to get a ladybug (or something else). Cut the large ball of dough through the middle to get the wings look. Decorate with poppy seeds or something else. As you do this, preheat oven to 395F, and then bake the bread for about 30 minutes or more if necessary. Enjoy watching your kids, or other kids in your life tear it apart! :)

Tip: Once it's baked, and after all the awes, you can shake of some of the poppy seeds, if you don't like that many. I think next time I'll make the ladybug spots with pieces of bread, and just stick them on with egg yolk wash. Might even look cuter...

Nov 10, 2008

Hazelnut Torte - Paganini

Hello, my dear foodies! Thank you for all your kind words, and support in my time of absence. I am very busy, but will be dropping by more, hopefully! Today is my daughter's B-Day, and I wanted to share with you this wonderful cake I made for her. Happy Birthday baby!

Hazelnut Torte (Paganini)

First make the two fillings.
Chocolate filling:
5 egg yolks, and 1 whole egg
50 g/1.75 oz dark chocolate
150g/ 5.25 oz sugar
250g/ about 9 oz butter or margarine, unsalted

Mix 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.

Vanilla filling:
4 egg yolks
5 Tbs corn starch
1 vanilla sugar (9g/0.32 oz)
6 Tbs sugar
0.7 l/ 3 cups milk
0.5l/2 cups whipped cream, whipped + 1 stabilizer
(I use the whipped cream powder, 3 x (40g/1.41oz) with about 1 ½ cups milk)

Mix egg yolks, vanilla sugar, sugar, and corn starch with about half cup milk (taken from the 3 cups). Let the remainder of milk boil, and when it comes to boil, pour in the mixture, and stir constantly until nice and thick. Cool down completely, and then gradually add the whipped cream, whipped with stabilizer. Vanilla cream, when cooled may be very tough to mix, and blending the whipped cream in can be a bit challenging, so add the whipped cream, mix a little, then cool again, and mix some more until smooth. If you mix it in one round, you will find that it can heat up, and become runny! Thanks to Jenn, I am making these corrections.

For the base:
10 egg whites
280g/ about 10 oz sugar
280g/ about 10 oz roasted, finely ground hazelnuts
2 Tbsp baking cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 395 F. Mix egg whites until stiff, slowly adding sugar, then hazelnuts with cocoa powder. Bake in a large spring form pan (8"), or a square 9”x13” baking pan. Either use parchment paper, or grease the dish before baking. Baking time depends on your oven, check often. As usual, it is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Cool down the cake, then poke it all over, and soak (but not to much) with milk. Put the cake on a stand of your choice, then put the spring form ring part back on (or around it, you know), and then put the fillings, that’s how you get perfect layers, and everything is kept in place, and evenly spread. When ready to serve, or giveaway (yeah, right), you just do the finishing touch. Fist top it with the chocolate filling, then vanilla, then decorate as you wish; whipped cream on the top works the best, but you can also sprinkle the top with coarse ground hazelnuts.

This cake is a true bite of heaven, prepare it to compliment a simple dinner! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Coolinarika.