Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Almond Topping

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

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Almond Topping

{Printable recipe}

Cake:

  • 8 eggs (divided)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) dark cocoa
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) ground blanched almonds
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) organic shredded coconut

 Topping:

  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 6 TBSP (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (150 g) roasted blanched almonds

 Preparation:

  1. Divide eggs and first beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm or when you turn the bowl upside down they don’t move. Set aside
  2. Now beat egg yolks, 1 whole egg, water and sugar until very pale yellow, add vanilla extract and cocoa. Make sure cocoa is well blended with eggs. Fold in almonds and coconut.
  3. At the end add egg whites and mix all together by hand until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into a round 8 inch (20 cm) cake spring form lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 365 F (185 C) for about 30 minutes.
  6. While cake is baking roast your almonds until light brown and fragrant; set aside to cool.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely and then make caramel topping.
  8. For the topping pour sugar into a heavy bottom pot and melt at a medium temperature. Have butter and cream handy.
  9. Once the melted sugar starts boiling add butter and cream at once. Lower the temperature and cook for another 5 minutes. Add roasted almonds and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  10. As it cools caramel will become thicker. Pour over cake and serve. Keep the cake at the room temperature, or if keeping in the fridge remove 30-60 minutes before serving.

Bon Appetit!

Flourless chocolate cake prep 1

Flourless chocolate cake prep 2

Flourless chocolate cake prep 3

Flourless chocolate cake with caramel almond topping

Flourless chocolate cake with caramel almond topping

Flourless chocolate cake with caramel almond topping

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Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake topped with toasted hazelnuts

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.

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Chocolate swirl cheesecake topped with toasted hazelnuts

[print here]

Crust:

  • 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

Filling:

  • 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

Preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and lemon juice until smooth and creamy, add corn starch and mix for another minute.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
Happy Birthday son!

Here Birthday Cheesecake just ready for the oven:

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Baked, cooled down and ready to cut into it:

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First slice for the Birthday boy:

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

The next day, a break from painting and a piece of cheesecake. Yum!

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Chocolate Mousse-Blackberry Birthday Cake

My youngest child, my baby daughter has turned 15. I still remember the day she came into this world and into my life. I felt immeasurably happy and blessed to hold my little bundle of joy in my arms. I miss those days when she was so dependent on me and when I could spend every minute taking care of her, cuddling her and kissing her chubby cheeks. I miss dressing her for school, brushing her hair, playing with her, coloring together. I even miss buying toys! 🙂 I got a bit misty eyed remembering the good old days, but I am delighted to see her growing up to be a beautiful, smart, artistic and caring young lady. Can a mother ever say enough of great things about her child? 🙂

As she has a beautifully distinguished character, so her wish for a birthday cake was a bit unusual as well: A Blackberry Cake. Birthday blackberry cake was certainly a challenge, but it turned out super delicious!

Chocolate Mousse-Blackberry Birthday Cake                    Printable recipe

Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) flour
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Chocolate mousse:

  • 2 cups (500 ml) chilled heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4.4 oz (125 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) milk chocolate

Frosting and decoration:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 5.2 oz (150 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 24 oz (700 g) blackberries
  • 1-2 tbsp powder sugar
  • Blackberry leaves for decoration

Cake preparation:

Divide eggs. Beat egg whites with 3 tbsp water until foamy. Slowly add sugar and vanilla, mix for couple of minutes, then add one by one egg yolk. Combine flour, corn starch and baking powder. Gently fold into egg mixture. Pour the batter into a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 365 F (185 C) 20 – 30 minutes. Cool completely and then slice through into two equal pieces.

Chocolate mousse preparation:

Heat  3/4 cup (125 ml) cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F (71 C)on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.

Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool. Beat remaining 1 1/4 (375 ml)cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Place the bottom cake part back into the spring form. Pour the chocolate mousse onto the cake. Cover and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Do not put top cake piece over the mousse as it is still very soft. Cover with plastic wrap and save it until ready to ensemble the cake.

Prepare frosting and decoration:

Whip heavy cream until firm, add sugar and vanilla. Cover and leave in the fridge until ready to ansamble the cake. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Spread the melted chocolate in two thin ribbons on piece of parchment paper, place it in the freezer. Make sure each ribbon is at least 3 inches (7-8 cm) high.

Wash blackberries and place them on a kitchen towel to dry.

Ensamble the cake:

  1. Remove the spring form with mousse from the fridge. If the mousse is firm enough, place the second sponge cake on the top.
  2. Remove the cake from the spring form and place it onto a serving plate. Frost the cake all around with whipped cream.
  3. Remove the chocolate ribbons from the freezer. Break them up into 1 – 2 inch pieces. Make sure pieces are little higher than the cake. Place the pieces around the cake to form a „fence“.
  4. Place the blackberries on the top of the cake. If desired, dust with powder sugar and decorate with blackberry leaves.

Enjoy! 🙂

Birth of a Dream Cake

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

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 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

Decoration:

  • 7 oz (200 g) white chocolate
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 ml) heavy cream (whipped)
  • Sugar
  • 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

Cake preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  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.
  2. 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:

  1. Line a 7 inch spring form cake pan with plastic wrap.
  2. Combine  frozen, fresh raspberries and water. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and add sugar.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 1st of 3 cake layers
  2. ½ half of semolina frosting
  3. 1st piece of raspberry gelée
  4. 2nd  of 3 cake layers
  5. 2nd half of semolina frosting
  6. 2nd half of raspberry gelée
  7. 3rd of 3 cake layers
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Bon Appétit!


Raspberry Gelée

 

Spongebob Challenge

I would have never thought that I would write about Spongebob on my blog! He is a cartoon character that my kids have been watching for several years now. Even though, they are teenagers now, they still enjoy watching Spongebob from time to time… Personally, I don’t find him very amusing and his laugh annoys the heck out of me! Really!

Spongebob Squarepants and his best friend Patrick Star! 😛

The reason, I am writing about our famous Spongebob is that my 7 year old nephew wanted a Spongebob birthday cake! Actually, he said he wanted either a “Spongebob” or “Cars” cake… Since I made him a “Cars” cake last year, I just took on a Spongebob challenge. I am not really a fondant cake type of person! Yes, fondant covered cakes are nice and beautiful, works of art and so on… just not for me!

So, this was really a double challenge – Spongebob and fondant (so not me)! For the love of my cutie-pie nephew I made this cake! It wasn’t easy and it was time consuming.

I enjoyed baking the cake from scratch and making the chocolate ganache frosting. I sliced the cake in half, spread half of the frosting on the first sponge, then put a layer of banana slices, frosting again and then second cake sponge on the top. Spongebob, his house and Patrick I made from rice crispy treats. Everything was covered in fondant (of course)!

Fondant was a whole different story! I didn’t make it myself (learned that lesson last year)! 😀 I bought the white fondant and then worked food coloring into it to get the colors needed for the Spongebob cake! While I was working on it, I remembered how people on the Cake Boss Show do this every day and all I can say is “Hats off to them!” After I made all the colors needed for the cake, I started working on all the small pieces that would come together at the end. My daughter helped me build Spongebob because she loves him and knows every little detail on him. She went even so far to put red and blue stripes on his socks!!! :S This was hard work, but I am glad we did it, especially because my daughter and I worked as a team and in the process she told me about all the funny Spongebob episodes.

I was happy to finish the cake (at 3 AM) and even more happy that my nephew loved it and that his Birthday party was a success! I’m waiting for another challenge this time next year or before… 🙂

This is how it turned out:

His royal Spongyness himself! 🙂