This is a nice summery dessert which I created using a batter recipe for a marble cake, minus the cocoa and instead of in a bunt cake form I baked it in large baking pan with addition of some fresh fruit on the top. I call it Summer Slices for every piece has a nice amount of summer fruit and berries and it looks so colorful. This cake is perfect for a family gathering or a party, it’s simple to make and super delicious!
I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. First I wanted to make his birthday favorite Julishka, but then I thought maybe this year I’d make something new and different. He likes chocolate and he also likes caramel, so what could really go wrong?!
I remembered a while ago I made a Black Forest Cake which didn’t require any flour, so I thought that would be a good start. I’ve changed a few things around: increased almond meal to 100 g and then substituted bread crumbs with organic shredded coconut.
I also remembered a cake my mom used to make with the almond caramel sauce, for which I don’t have a recipe, but thought I could recreate the sauce and pour over my chocolate cake. The cake turned out so much better than I hoped for. It has a nice texture, it’s moist and not too sweet at all. The sweetness of caramel fits really good with this cake and almonds give it a nice crunch. It’s definitely a winner!
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Almond Topping
Autumn without apple strudel would be like spring without the rain, summer without the sunshine or movies without popcorn. Autumn harvest in Bosnia/Balkan region usually brings a bounty of different kind of apples. Mostly every backyard has some type of a fruit tree, be it a plum, pear, apple or a quince tree. Of course that bounty of different kinds of fruit needs to be preserved in some way or used for delicious desserts. I vividly remember my mom and grandmother making jams, juices and baking in the fall. Nothing was allowed to go to waste.
Now what does Bosnia and Vienna Apple Strudel have in common? For about 40 years at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century Bosnia was under Austria-Hungary Empire rule, which resulted in mixing of cultures and of course influences on Bosnian cuisine (which before reflected mainly Turkish/Ottoman and Eastern influences).
Apple strudel in Bosnia is also known as ‘apple pita’ and can be made in a few different ways. Usually it is made out of paper thin phyllo dough with shredded or sliced apple filling and with addition of sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, raisins, etc.
Here is one really great recipe for Vienna Apple Strudel. This strudel can be served by itself with a nice cup of coffee or also paired up with vanilla sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
a pinch of salt
oil for brushing and
flour for kneading
60 g (2.1 oz) bread crumbs
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
50 g (1.8 oz )butter
50 g (1.8 oz) sliced almonds
1 lemon (juice)
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) apples
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
40 ml (3 TBSP) dark rum
50 g (1.8 oz) raisins
1/2 TSP cinnamon
50 g (1.8 oz) melted butter for brushing
powdered sugar for sprinkling
In a mixer bowl with the spiral hooks add flour, egg, oil, white wine and a pinch of salt. Start mixing slowly adding warm milk. Mix for a few minutes until smooth dough forms. Sprinkle some flour right into the bowl and knead the dough by hand few times and form it into a ball. Place the dough into an oil coated bowl. Make sure the dough is well coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at a warm place for about two hours.
While the dough is resting prepare bread crumbs and almonds for the filling. In a pan melt the butter on a low temperature. Mix bread crumbs and sugar and add it to the butter and let it brown just very lightly (2-3 minutes). Let it cool. Roast the sliced almonds on a low temperature in the pan until fragrant and just starting to brown.
Squeeze the lemon and put the lemon juice into a bowl. Peel the apples, core them and quarter them. Slice into very thin slices. As you slice them, brush some lemon juice over them so they don’t get brown. When done slicing, add all the remaining lemon juice to the apples, add sugar, rum, raisins, cinnamon and almonds. Toss it lightly and set aside.
Melt the rest of the butter and keep it handy. Prepare a clean, large kitchen towel where you will stretch the dough. Dust the towel with some flour. (I’ve used a 16 X 26 inch/ 40 X 66 cm towel). Now take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured surface (not towel) and roll it a bit with a rolling pin. Transfer it to the kitchen towel and start stretching by placing your hands underneath the dough and pulling from the middle to the sides. When the dough is nice and thin, cut of the thick edges. Brush the dough with melted butter. Spread the bread crumbs over the dough leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) edge all around. Spread the apple filling on the top of the bread crumbs.
This is how to roll the strudel. Flap the 2 short and 1 long edge over the filling. Taking the kitchen towel by the longer flapped edge, roll up the strudel. Still holding the towel transfer strudel to the baking sheet. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 20-25 minutes in the lower portion of the oven. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar. If desired you can also add a side of vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream to it.
I have finally decided to give it a try and make a pie. As you may have read in my previous posts, pies are not my specialty… I didn’t grow up in the United States and my grandma didn’t bake pies, so I never learned how to make them. The first time I saw a pie was in a Tom and Jerry cartoon when I was a kid. I wasn’t sure what it was, I knew it was some kind of desert that you can throw in a person’s face! 😀
The first time I ever tried a pie was when I came to live in the United States. Since then, I’ve made many deserts, but never a good old, classic pie. It took me quite some time to work up the courage to make one and here it is:
+ wax or parchment paper (to fit the bottom of the pie dish), dry beans or chick peas
10 oz (285 g) red currants
¾ cup (100 g) powdered sugar
2/3 cup (150 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg whites (weighed)
Sugar (double weight of the egg withes weight)*
* 1 measure of egg whites = 2 measures of sugar
For the crust combine flour, powder sugar, ground almonds and a pinch of salt. Add sliced butter and work it into flour, add the egg yolk. Mix and knead until well combined. Form a dough ball, wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare a pie dish, grease it well with butter. Heat the oven to 355 F (180 C).
On a floured surface roll out the dough in a circle to fit the pie dish. With the help of the rolling pin transfer the dough from the working surface to the dish, poke the bottom few times with a fork, trim the dough evenly and crimp the edges.
Place the wax paper on the bottom, place the dry chick peas on the top of it. Bake for about 10-12 minutes (don’t let it brown).
Remove the pie crust from the oven, cool for just a few minutes, then remove chick peas and the wax paper.
Place the washed red currants on the top of the crust.
In a bowl mix together eggs, powder sugar, heavy cream and corn starch until smooth. Pour over red currants and bake for another 20-25 minutes until pie sets. If desired place a ring of aluminum foil over the edges of the pie to prevent burning.
While the pie is baking, weigh the egg whites. Your sugar amount will depend on the weight of the egg whites (egg whites 1 measure = sugar 2 measures).
Prepare the meringue: combine egg whites and sugar and mix together until combined using a whisk. Heat it lightly over a hot water dish (bain marie) about 3 minutes mixing constantly. Don’t let the water boil. Transfer the mixture into a mixer bowl and mix on high speed for about 10 minutes or until mixture becomes very shiny and firm.
Place the meringue in a cake frosting bag and decorate the pie top. Place in the oven to 250 F (120 C) for 5 minutes and then lower to 200 F (95 C) for another 10 minutes until nice crust forms.
I love using seasonal, local fruit and veggies for baking/cooking. You must admit there is no better fruit than the kind that has been allowed to ripen properly in the sun, as God intended. Since blueberries are one of my favorite fruits, I just try to use them as much as I can while they are in season in my neck of the woods. This refreshing blueberry-yogurt cake is my own creation – no baking necessary, pretty simple to make and very tasty!
1/3 of a Honey Graham crackers pack (crushed) – about 5 oz or (136 g)
1.8 oz (50 g) blanched ground almonds
1.8 oz (50 g) butter (softened)
1/ 2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
15.8 oz (450 g) blueberries (washed and blended)
15.8 oz (450 g) plain yogurt
Zest of one small lemon
½ cup (100 g) of sugar
About 2 cups (450 ml) heavy cream (whipped)
¼ cup (50 g) of sugar
2 envelopes (14 g) plain gelatin
4 Tablespoons of water
Handful of blueberries
25-30 small rose leaves (untreated)
1.8 oz (50 g) white chocolate
1.8 oz (50 g) semi-sweet chocolate
2 teaspoons cooking oil
For the crust crush the graham crackers, add almonds, sugar, sifted cocoa and butter at the end. Mix well and press the mixture into the bottom of a 8.5 inch (about 22 cm) spring cake form.
For the filling wash the blueberries, blend them and set aside. Whip the cream with sugar, cover and leave in the fridge until needed. Mix the plain yogurt with sugar and lemon zest in one bowl and add the blended blueberries to it. In a sauce pan mix the plain gelatin with water and leave it resting for about 5 minutes. Heat it at a low temperature until gelatin melts, but do not let it boil. Pour about 1 cup of blueberry-yogurt mixture into gelatin. Mix it well and then pour everything back into the remaining blueberry mixture. Gently fold in the whipped cream and once again mix until well blended. Pour the mixture onto the crust, cover with plastic and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the decoration wash your rose leaves and pat them dry. Melt both chocolates in separate dishes and add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil to each, mix well. Take a small brush and brush the bottom side of each leaf and place them on a flat surface (such as a tray) that can fit in your freezer. When done, place the leaves in the freezer for a few minutes. Take them out and brush them with chocolate once again. This time leave them in the freezer until ready to decorate.
Remove the cake from the spring form. Take the leaves out of the freezer and quickly start removing rose leaves so that you only get chocolate leaves. Arrange the chocolate leaves on the top of the cake (let your imagination guide you). Put some fresh blueberries around the leaves.
This cake is very refreshing and light for the hot summer days, when you don’t feel like baking and still want to have a nice dessert!
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.
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.
A couple of years ago when I visited my homeland Bosnia I brought back a French/International cookbook, which my dad gave to my mom for their first marriage anniversary. So many things were taken out of our home during the war, and I was pleasantly surprised that our book collections were still there! The only thing missing from this book was its shiny photo cover which I remember so well. The cookbook it self has 750 pages full of the most spectacular recipes of French and International cuisine. The cookbook is by Henri-Paul Pellaprat “L’Art culinaire moderne” 1969 edition, and in Croatian translation it is just simply called “The Great Pellaprat”. I remember as a child going through its pages, looking at all the photos and wondering how would all these amazing meals taste and how is it even possible to make such works of art.
Today was Father’s Day and a perfect day to try and bake something from this amazing cookbook. Out of the hundreds of dessert recipes I chose a familiar one – Black Forest Cake. Familiar, because after we left Bosnia, we lived in Germany’s Black Forest region, our children were born there and it was just an amazing time of learning to live away from home, accepting the life changes and building a better future for our children and us.
About 1 quart (900 ml) heavy cream (whipped) *** Original recipe calls for 600 ml, but that was not nearly enough to frost the cake inside and out and decorate it.
Sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3.3 Tablespoons (50 ml) cherry brandy (Original German Kirsch Wasser) *** I substituted Kirsch Wasser with 1 small jar of “Tipsy Cherries
5.2 oz (150 g) semi-sweet chocolate (refrigerated)
Also needed: 25 cm (10 inch) round spring form cake pan + same size parchment paper
Heat the oven to 370 F (187 C)
For the cake beat egg yolks, 1 whole egg, sugar and water until foamy.
Add bread crumbs and ground almonds.
Now by hand gently fold in egg whites. Add sifted cocoa at the end.
Pour the batter into the spring form pan and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.
Cool completely and slice horizontally into 3 equal layers.
Heat the sour cherries with juice in a small cooking pot and bring it to boil. Mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with some of the cherry juice and pour into the pot. Let it boil for a few minutes until it thickens. Cool completely.
Whip the heavy cream until firm. Add sugar (after your own taste) and vanilla extract.
Take the bottom cake layer, sprinkle it with some “Tipsy cherries” brandy (or Kirsch Wasser), spread the cherries on the top of it. Spread 1/3 of the whipped cream on it.
Place the second cake layer on the cream, sprinkle with cherry brandy and spread with the second part of the whipped cream.
Sprinkle the third cake layer with some cherry brandy and place it on the top.
Frost the whole cake all around, decorate the top with tipsy cherries and chopped chocolate pieces.
Place the cake in the fridge over night and serve the next day.
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!
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.
The recipe for this fine cake I have had since 1990. It is really hard to believe that 21 years have passed by. So many things have happened in my life and made it totally different from what I would ever expect. To make a long story short – a college student from Bosnia ended up in Germany because of the war, got married, had children, immigrated to the United States to start a better life for her family, and is now sharing with you a recipe for this delicious Chocolate Almond Cake. 🙂
1. In a stand mixer, mix butter for about 30 seconds, add sugar little by little and vanilla, mix until smooth.
2. Add an egg one by one, mixing 30 sec. after every addition.
3. Combine flour and baking powder, mix well. Fold into egg-butter mixture by hand. Add shredded chocolate and almonds and mix well.
4. Line a 9 in (24 cm) round cake pan with parchment paper. Evenly spread the batter into the pan. Bake at 375 F (180 C) for about an hour or until soft center of the cake disappears.
For the frosting, heat apricot jam for about 45 sec. and strain it through a fine mesh, to become smooth and without any apricot pieces. Brush it over warm cake.
Let the cake cool down. Melt the chocolate in a hot water bath, add cooking oil and mix it until smooth and glossy. Pour over the cake. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reserve some chocolate for the decoration.
For the leaf decoration, get some rose leaves (plastic leaves are fine too). Brush them with chocolate once, let them rest for a few minutes and then brush them a second time. Place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Gently peel of each rose leaf and you should have a beautiful chocolate leaf decorations.