Summer Slices

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!

????????

 

Summer Slices

[Printable Recipe]

Ingredients

  • 300 g butter (10.5 oz or 65 sticks)- softened
  • 275 g (9.7 oz or 2 ¼ cups + 2 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 375 g (13.2 oz or about 3 cups)all-purpose flour
  • 2 – 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Various fruit (peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • Slivered almonds (toasted)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Baking pan 32 x 44 x 2.5 cm (12 X 17 X 1 inch)
  • Parchment paper (size of the pan)

Preparation

  1. Beat softened butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until nice and foamy 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs one by one mixing ½ minute after each addition.
  3. Mix in lemon zest.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder and stir well, then start adding to the butter mixture mixing at a medium speed.
  5. At the end add milk and stir until all well combined.
  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly on the pan.
  7. Lightly toast slivered almonds and set aside.
  8. If you use peaches you will need about 4 large. Boil some water and immerse peaches into boiling water for about a minute. Peel them and slice into thin slices (about 1.5 cm or 1/2 inch).
  9. Spread them on the batter, sprinkle with berries and toasted almonds
  10. Bake at 195 C or 385 F until lightly brown on the top.
  11. Let it cool down and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into slices and serve.
 ♦

Summer SlicesSummer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Advertisements

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

We celebrated our son’s Birthday in January, and being a cheese cake lover, he asked for a chocolate cheese cake with raspberries. I really liked the challenge and it was a perfect timing to try a new cheese cake recipe I had for a while. The recipe sounded different from the way I used to make cheesecakes, but it really was a great success. The texture of this cake is so creamy and silky, unlike any other cheesecake I had before – a true chocolate lover’s dream. Instead of graham crackers for the crust I used Milano Raspberry Cookies and then decorated the cake with fresh raspberries.

Silky Chocolate Cheese Cake with Raspberry Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

{Printable Recipe}

Crust:

  • 250 g (9 oz) Milano Raspberry Cookies (crushed)
  • 113 g (1 stick) butter (melted)

Cheesecake:

  • 500 g (1 lb) cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) semi-sweet chocolate (melted)
  • 300 g (1 ½ cup) sour cream
  • 45 g ( 3 TBSP) butter (melted)

Also needed:

  • 22 cm (9 inch) spring-form cake pan
  • Parchment paper (same size as the pan)

Preparation:

  1. Cover the cake pan with parchment paper. Crush the cookies to resemble small crumbs. Melt the butter and add into cookies. Mix thoroughly and press into the pan bottom and onto the sides (about 1 inch or 2.5 cm high). Place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  3. While the crust is resting in the fridge, prepare the cheesecake mixture. First, beat the cream cheese until airy and fluffy, then add sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa until well incorporated.
  4. Melt the chocolate over a hot water pan. Turn the mixing speed to low and then add chocolate, sour cream and melted butter into the cheese cream mixture.  Mixture will look really shiny and smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. Decorate with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings.

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Artist Trading Cards Party and Razz-Ma-Tazz Bars

After a disappointing Friday when I headed to Chicago to meet with my best friend and didn’t make it there because my reliable German car broke down on the highway, my Saturday turned out to be quite pleasant. For the first time ever I participated in Artist Trading Cards project. There were 30 artists who participated. We all had to make 1 card a day for 30 days starting September 1st. The purpose of making one card a day is just to stay involved in your art since many of us don’t do art for living and in this busy world of  ours it is hard to find time to paint. So after 30 days we all supposed to have 900 cards all together. Party was taking place last Saturday at St. Joseph, Michigan, a beautiful town at the Lake Michigan shore. Everyone was asked to bring a dish to share, so I decided to go with Razz-Ma-Tazz Bars (see my Christmas edition here) that really have never failed to put ones taste buds in awe. Party went very well, cards were traded, food was great and the company of fellow artists excellent. I came home happy, I made some new friends, I got 30 new trading cards and all the bars were eaten! 🙂

Razz-Ma-Tazz Bars

[printable recipe]

*** I use a 1.5 measure of batter for the 9 X 13 inch baking pan. The quantities below are for the 9 X 9 inch square pan. ***

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) butter or margarine
  • 2 cups (335 g) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Premier White Morsels, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup (170 g) seedless raspberry jam (I use with seeds and I also add 1 cup of frozen raspberries)
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) sliced almonds

Directions

  1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F (162 C). Grease and sugar 9-inch-square baking pan.
  2. MELT butter in medium, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; stir. Add 1 cup morsels; let stand. Do not stir.
  3. BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl until foamy. Add sugar; beat until light lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Stir in morsel-butter mixture. Add flour, salt and almond extract; mix at low speed until combined. Spread 2/3 of batter into prepared pan.
  4. BAKE for 15 to 17 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Remove from oven to wire rack.
  5. HEAT jam in small, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 30 seconds; stir. Spread jam over warm crust. Stir remaining morsels into remaining batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter over jam. Sprinkle with almonds.
  6. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

♦♦♦

Here are some of my trading cards that I’ve taken to the party.

Watercolor and watercolor pencil:

An apple in pastel…

…and two pencil sketches:

Here are some photos of other artists cards and of the atmosphere in the studio:


No Bake Raspberry (Graduation) Cheese Cake

What a joyous day! Our son graduated from high school today. One chapter of his life is ending and a new one is just beginning, as he is starting college this fall. What can a proud mother say?! I am happy, overjoyed and nostalgic today – all at the same time. Just not so long ago when we first stepped onto the the U.S. ground  he was just a four year old boy. Today he is a young man who has reached one important goal and is moving onto many others.

Of course we had to celebrate with a cake. This was his wish – Raspberry Cheese Cake! I LOVE YOU SON and I am proud of you! I thank God for giving me you!

NO BAKE RASPBERRY CHEESE CAKE     Printable recipe

For the crust:

  • 250 (8.8 oz) hazelnut cookies***
  • 90 g (3.2 oz) butter (melted)

For the filling:

  • 300 ml ( 1 ¼ cup) heavy cream (whipped)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 2 envelopes (2 tbsp) plain ground gelatin
  • 500 g (17.6 oz) cream cheese (quark is also good)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 250 g (8.8 oz) fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 22 cm (9 inch) round spring cake pan

Optional: About 10-12 fresh raspberries + 1 cup whipped cream for decoration

*** For the crust I’ve used combination of vanilla wafers and hazelnut wafer sticks.

  1. Line the cake pan with parchment paper and brush with a little oil.
  2. For the crust grind the cookies in a food processor, add melted butter and mix well.
  3. Press the mixture onto the bottom and the walls of the spring form; place it into the freezer.
  4. For the filling first whip heavy cream until dense, add few spoons of sugar if desired.
  5. Place the water and gelatin into a small sauce pan, mix well and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar until smooth.
  7. Puree the raspberries with sugar.
  8. Gently combine the whipped cream and cream cheese mixture.
  9. Melt the gelatin on a very low temperature. Pour the ¾ of the gelatin into the cheese-whipped cream mixture and mix until well combined. Pour the filling onto the crust.
  10. The other ¼ of the melted gelatin pour into raspberry puree. Pour the puree onto the cheese filling and swirl around few times until just combined.
  11. Cover the cake with plastic and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If desired, decorate with some whipped cream, fresh raspberries, leftover cookies, etc.

Bon Appétit!

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