Hello friends! Oh, how happy I am to say that Spring is in the full swing in my neck of the woods! I’ve been so distracted by its beauty, I could hardly manage to do anything inside the house (including baking). Family wasn’t happy about not having goodies for a while, so that’s why I resorted to this easy cake recipe from an old German baking book. It doesn’t require much time or skill and the result is more than satisfying.
This simple chocolate cake can be paired up with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or topped with fresh berries or berry sauce. It is easy enough to make for those who are new to baking or for the times when you learn that friends are coming over and you don’t really have a lot of time to prepare a dessert.
Enjoy this fine chocolate cake and Happy Spring! ♥
Easy Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts
- 115 g (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
- 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
- 1 TSP vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 125 g (1 cup) flour
- 1 TSP baking powder
- 3 TBSP cocoa (sifted, unsweetened)
- 75 g (2.6 oz) chopped and toasted hazelnuts
Beat butter and sugar at a high speed until nice and fluffy, add vanilla extract and eggs.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and add to the butter mixture.
Reduce the mixing speed and mix until creamy; add hazelnuts.
Rub a bottom and sides of a tart pan with butter and pour the cake batter in.
Bake at 175 C (350 F) for about 20 – 25 minutes.
If desired sprinkle the cake with some powder sugar.
Simple, Easy and Yummy!
Another year! Another chance to live, laugh and do what I love! There are a lot of plans and resolutions in mind which I will put on paper one of these days. For a sweet beginning to the new year, here is a recipe for a scrumptious cheesecake requested by my son for his birthday. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted to have, he said “Can a cheesecake be made with chocolate and hazelnuts?” Well, no doubt it can!
My basic cheesecake recipe comes from one of the numerous Dr. Oetker cookbooks. I have changed a thing or two over the years to suit my taste. This time I added chocolate and hazelnuts to it and I didn’t pre-bake the crust as recipe directs, since it always turns too dark and burnt tasting. I just poured the cheesecake batter right onto the unbaked crust and it turned out just right baked together. I also prefer quark cheese for the cheesecake since it is so much lighter than the common American cream cheese, but it was way too expensive, so I went for what is known in the US as Neufchâtel or Farmers’ cheese and has a lower fat content.
Chocolate swirl cheesecake topped with toasted hazelnuts
- 150 g (5.3 oz) flour
- ½ TSP baking powder
- 75 g (2.6 oz) sugar
- 1 pack of vanilla sugar (or 1 TSP vanilla extract)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 75 g (2.6 oz) butter (softened)
- Flour for kneading
- 750 g (26 oz) cream cheese (used Neufchâtel, but quark cheese is the best)
- 200 g (7 oz) sugar
- 3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 50 g (1.7 oz) corn starch
- 3 eggs (divided)
- 250 ml (1 cup+2 TBSP) heavy cream (whipped)
- 100 g (3.5 oz) semisweet chocolate
- 50 – 75 g (1.7 – 2.6 oz) toasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)
Also needed: 25 cm (10 inch) round cake spring pan
- For the crust combine all dry ingredients, add 1 egg and butter and mix it at medium speed until well blended. Transfer the dough on a floured surface, knead it for a minute, wrap in plastic and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting prepare the filling. First divide eggs and beat egg whites until firm. Set aside. Next whip the heavy cream and set aside. Lightly toast hazelnuts and chop them coarsely.
- Mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and lemon juice until smooth and creamy, add corn starch and mix for another minute.
- Now add in whipped cream and fold in egg whites by hand. Melt the chocolate over the hot water bath. Take about 1/5 of the cream cheese mixture and place it a small mixing bowl. Pour melted chocolate inside and mix well.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll 2/3 of the dough and place it onto a greased spring cake form. From the remaining 1/3 of the dough make a long rope and press it into the wall of the cake pan. Pour the filling into the unbaked crust, pour the chocolate mixture on the top and make swirls all around with a tooth pick. Top with toasted hazelnuts and bake at 175 C or 345 F for about 45-50 minutes. ***Since I made the cake at night, preparation photos were too dark, so I will not post them this time.
Happy Birthday son!
Here Birthday Cheesecake just ready for the oven:
Baked, cooled down and ready to cut into it:
First slice for the Birthday boy:
The next day, a break from painting and a piece of cheesecake. Yum!
I haven’t baked in a while, partly because the summer calls for the resfreshing, no bake, fruity desserts and partly because I was on vacation and just didn’t feel like doing much except relaxing, painting, shopping, and such… Well, last night I got a huge urge to bake! Without a particular reason, without an occasion in sight I just HAD TO BAKE SOMETHING! Those passionate about baking will understand!
Ideas started forming in my mind while I was still at work – something yeasty, but not too heavy and good for breakfast… Strudel! That’s it! We, Eastern European People love our strudel! I think most of every nation of Eastern (and some of Western EU) has one or the other version of the strudel. I usually make two types of strudel – one with a very thin, phyllo-like dough and the other with the yeast dough. Fillings can vary – from a lighter cherry, apple or jam filling to a richer poppy seed, walnut, hazelnut, almond or cream cheese and raisins filling. More info about strudel here.
Yeast Strudel with Hazelnuts Printable recipe
Yields two 5 X 9 inches (13 X 23 cm) loafs
- 12-14 oz (350-400 g) ground hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pack of dry yeast (or 20 g fresh yeast)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour (used King Arthur)
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (if desired)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1 cup (236 ml)warm water
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) butter (very soft)
Pour the milk into a cooking pan and let it boil lightly. Add hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla, honey and cinnamon and mix well for a few minutes until the filling thickens. Make sure the filling is spreadable. If is too runny add more hazelnuts. ***You may divide filling into two parts and add 1 tbsp of cocoa or melted chocolate in one half (or add some different flavor to it).
- Mix the yeast, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes until becomes foamy.
- Combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Make an indent in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix lightly, add the egg and then start adding water. When almost combined, work the butter into the dough.
- Lightly dust your working surface with flour and knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes. Grease a bowl with butter and place the dough ball into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise until double in volume.
- Prepare two 5 X 9 inches (about 13 X 23 cm) loaf pans, grease them with butter. Cover your table with a cloth which will be used for rolling the dough. Sprinkle the cloth with flour.
- When the dough is ready, divide it in two. Using a rolling pin roll the dough as thin as possible. Make sure it keeps its rectangular shape. The size of my dough was approx. 12 X 20 inches. Spread the filling as thinly as possible. Lift up the cloth and roll the dough as a jelly roll. Do the same with the second piece of the dough.
- Shape one roll into “S”, form the other dough into a two-strain braid and place each into a loaf pan. Cover and let is rise for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
- Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 F (175 C) and bake for another 30 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool for another 30 minutes, slice and serve.
I truly admire people who are able to come up with their own original recipes. I love and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, be it baking or cooking. I’ve adjusted known recipes to fit my taste and I can even say I improved some (at least I think so ), but I’ve never created my very own recipe.
Last week, after a quite long pause, I started going to pastel painting class again. I forgot how this class does wonders to my emotional wellness, inspiration, and just overall feeling of joy! As I was doodling on a note pad thinking of what could be my next painting project, I found myself sketching a cake… Weird how my mind switched from thinking of painting to thinking of a cake and my hand followed accordingly.
In the back of my mind I had plans to make a cake this weekend – a cake for my birthday. I could have let my family buy me a cake, but as every other year I am
totally almost expected to make a cake for each family member’s birthday. Honestly, I like it that way! Still sketching, an idea of my very own cake came to mind… Raspberries came to mind, vanilla, white chocolate, mmm… why not?! Here it is! From the birth of an idea to the final product – Raspberry Dream Cake!
Raspberry Dream Cake Printable recipe
- 6 eggs
- 4 tbsp hot water
- 3/4 cups (150 g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp bitter almond extract
- 5 oz (150 g) sour cream* ( I added sour cream to the batter for additional moisture and to avoid cake being dry)
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 5 oz (150) g ground hazelnuts
Frosting # 1 – Semolina, butter, white chocolate frosting:
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- 1 cup (250 ml) cream
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3.5 oz (100 g) semolina
- 1 stick (100 g) butter
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 3.5 (100 g) white chocolate
Frosting # 2 – Raspberry Gelée:
- 14 oz (400 g) frozen raspberries
- 6 oz (170 g) fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 ml) water
- 2 envelopes (14 g) plain gelatin
- 6 tbsp water
- 7 oz (200 g) white chocolate
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup (300 ml) heavy cream (whipped)
- Fresh raspberries
- Lemon Balm leaves
Also needed: 7 inch (18 cm) spring form cake pan, parchment paper, plastic wrap, a long sharp knife, cake decorating bag with a star tip
- In a mixer bowl beat 6 eggs with 4 tbsp hot water until foamy, add vanilla and bitter almond extract. Slowly start adding sugar and mix at least for 2 minutes, before adding sour cream. Combine flour, baking powder and ground hazelnuts. Turn the mixing speed to low and add the dry ingredients.
- Bake in a 7 inch (18 cm) spring form cake pan lined with parchment paper at 365 F (185 C) for about 30 minutes. Cool completely, remove from the spring form and slice across into three even pieces.
Prepare frosting #1:
- Combine cream, milk, vanilla and sugar and let it boil. Pour into it semolina flour, lower the heat and mix until all liquid disappears and the mixture has a pudding consistency. Cool slightly and cover with plastic wrap to avoid crust forming. The mixture will harden somewhat as it cools.
- Combine butter and sugar, mix until fluffy, add melted white chocolate and mix well. Add it to the semolina mixture and again mix well or until thoroughly combined. Cover and set aside.
Prepare frosting #2:
- Line a 7 inch spring form cake pan with plastic wrap.
- Combine frozen, fresh raspberries and water. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and add sugar.
- In a small cooking pan disolve gelatin in 6 tbsp of water, mix and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly heat gelatin and let it melt, but do not let it boil. Take few table spoons out of raspberry mixture and mix it well with gelatin.
- Now add the gelatin into remaining raspberries and mix well. Pour it into spring form and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, remove the pan rim. Slowly divide into two pieces by cutting through with a long, sharp knife.
Put together and decorate the cake:
- 1st of 3 cake layers
- ½ half of semolina frosting
- 1st piece of raspberry gelée
- 2nd of 3 cake layers
- 2nd half of semolina frosting
- 2nd half of raspberry gelée
- 3rd of 3 cake layers
- Melt the white chocolate with vegetable oil until liquid. Pour and spread over top of the cake and sides. Put it into fridge for about 15 minutes.
- Beat the cream with desired amount of sugar until dense. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and lemon balm.
The first time I tried Marjolaine cake was at our local Italian bakery. A French cake in an Italian bakery! There is no way that you could find that in Italy! Anyway, the last few years the bakery has not been making it anymore and few days ago I think I found a reason why!
Since this is my son’s favorite cake and I was not able to buy it anywhere, I decided to surprise him and make it for his birthday. I googled the recipe and found about 5 different versions. I chose the one that in my opinion was best “resembling” the original from our favorite bakery.
Should I say that it took me 5 hours to make this cake?! No wonder the bakery is not taking that kind of time! The cake turned out perfect and it tasted s-u-p-e-r-b! My son was very happy! His first slice was as thick as 3 regular slices! Marjolaine cake is now on my Special Occasion Cakes list! A lot of work was put into it, A LOT, but in the end it was well worth it!
Here we go: Printable version
The praline powder:
- 1 cup (100 g) whole almonds
- 1 cup (128 g) confectioners’ sugar
The chocolate cream (chocolate ganache):
- 2 cups (500 ml) creme fraiche (I have used heavy whipping cream)
- 16 (450 g) ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Lindt or other European brand, broken into pieces
The pastry cream:
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (64 g) unbleached flour
- 2 cups (500 ml) milk
- 1 1/4 cups (283 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (138 g) hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 10 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup (32 g) unbleached flour
The rum cream:
- 2 cups pastry cream (1/2 of the whole quantity)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon rum
The praline cream:
- 2 cups pastry cream (1/2 of the whole quantity)
- 2 cups praline powder (I didn’t weigh in grams, but use all of what you get after grinding the sugar coated almonds)
*Optional: 1 cup (138 g) toasted, chopped hazelnuts for decorating the sides of the cake
Prepare the praline powder:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Oil a baking sheet with a light vegetable oil. Spread the almonds on another baking sheet and bake until fragrant and light brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Combine the nuts and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt. The mixture will go through several stages,from a dry blend to one where the sugar forms little bubbles the size of peas. Continue cooking, stirring constantly so all of the sugar clinging to the almonds melts, until the mixture turns dark brown and syrupy and the nuts make a popping sound. The whole process will take about five minutes.
- Quickly pour the mixture onto the oiled baking sheet. The mixture will harden to give almond brittle. When the praline is cool, break it into pieces. Grind it to a fine powder in a food processor. (Praline can be made weeks in advance and refrigerated or frozen in an air-tight container.)
- Prepare the chocolate cream: Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, piece by piece, until it is completely melted and blended. Set aside until cool and thick. It should have the consistency of a thick, spreadable, frosting. (This can be made as much as three days in advance and refrigerated. If it hardens, reheat it gently, beating until it reaches the proper consistency.)
Prepare the pastry cream:
- Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until thick and lemon-colored. Gently whisk in the flour. Heat the milk to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk one-third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, then pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk. Boil, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until thickened, about two minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- Beat the butter until soft and creamy. When the pastry cream is completely cool, whisk in the softened butter. (The pastry cream can be made three days in advance and kept refrigerated.)
Prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heavily butter two jelly-roll pans, measuring about 14x10x1 in. Line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper.
- Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the warm nuts in a cotton dish towel to remove as much skin as possible. Cool, then grind them with a quarter cup of the sugar in a food processor.
- Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to stiffen. Slowly add the remaining sugar, mixing until stiff but not dry. Fold in the flour and hazelnut mixture. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are thoroughly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and invert them onto racks to cool, paper side up. Cover the cakes with a damp towel for several minutes, then remove the parchment paper while the cakes are still warm. Let cool completely. Cut each cake lengthwise in half.
- At least 24 hours, but not more than three days, before serving, assemble the Marjolaine: Divide the pastry cream in half. Blend the vanilla extract and the rum into one portion of the pastry cream. Blend the praline powder into the remaining pastry cream. (Mix the praline cream just before assembling the cake, because the flavor will fade if mixed up in advance.) The chocolate and pastry creams should be chilled, but spreadable.
- Place one cake layer on a large, rectangular serving platter. Spread half the chocolate cream on the cake. Refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes. Cover the chocolate cream with a second cake layer. Spread with all of the rum cream and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Top the rum cream with the third cake layer. Spread with all of the praline cream and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Top the praline cream with the fourth cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate cream. Refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate one to three days before serving.
- To serve, remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cutting, then cut into thin slices.
- **Original recipe found here (I slightly changed the quantity of some ingredients).
Praline Powder preparation steps
Prepared pastry cream and chocolate ganache