Tag Archives: mascarpone

Amaretti Tiramisu

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Tiramisu
So Italian week continues and this time I bring to you something Dolce. What comes to mind mind when anyone thinks of a classic Italian dessert?  Tiramisu, of course! Every Italian restaurant has it on the menu and it’s a frequent visitor to our house. Not too many things work so beautifully together as strong espresso and silky smooth mascarpone. I call this particular recipe Instant Tiramisu because instead of traditional crisp Savoiardi ladyfingers that take a couple of hours to soak up coffee and liquor I used already soft amaretti cookies or Amaretti Morbidi. I absolutely adore these little cookies in Tiramisu. They bring beautiful almond flavour into the mix making it even more desirable and impossible to stop eating! Also, they are little round guys which makes them fit perfectly in the individual mason jars that I used this time.  A quick side note about the mason jars, they might not be the most original things as they get used a lot but for a good reason! They provide perfect personal portions and you can always pop a lid on them and stick them in the fridge until dinner time. Tiramisu One of the characteristics of true Italian cooking is very few but good quality ingredients. This Tiramisu recipe is no exception. Tiramisu (prep)
Ingredients: {Serves 4}

  • Amaretti biscuits (soft or crisp)-  20-24
  • Espresso or strong coffee- 2 shots/2 oz
  • Mascarpone-1 cup/250 ml
  • Whipping cream- 1 cup/250 ml
  • Icing sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla -2 tsp.
  • Rum or marsala, brandy etc.- 4-6 tsp.
  • Cocoa for dusting- 3-4 tsp.
  • Chocolate, shaved

Method:

Traditionally Tiramisu cream topping is made of mixture of mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks but using raw eggs could be unsafe so the eggs are often replaced with whipping cream.

Make two shots of espresso if you have an espresso machine or 2 oz of very strong coffee. Divide your amaretti cookies among 4 mason jars or glasses. Pour 1/2 of espresso shot in each glass over the cookies and 1 tsp. of rum.

Whip mascarpone and cream with icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, it will take about 5 minutes. Divide your mascarpone mixture evenly among 4 jars.Tiramisu (prep)

Dust with cocoa.
Amaretti Tiramisu
Or… Shave some chocolate using a cheese slicer or a knife.Tiramisu (prep)
And pile on top.Amaretti Tiramisu
I am still trying to wrap my head around how something so SIMPLE and QUICK could be pure Heaven.
Amaretti Tiramisu

Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone

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Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone
Are you tired of everything pumpkin yet? I have to admit I am getting there.  As much as I love seasonal baking once in a while I just have to break the mould and do something different. The days are usually dark and dreary in the long autumn months in England and we all crave sunshine to brighten our days and give us much needed Vitamin D.  Alas, that is not in the cards for this island dweller.  Luckily the Italians have it in abundance, so they gathered and bottled it for us less fortunate people  in the form of Limoncello.
My friend was having a baby shower which seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out my new bundt pan and to use up that tub of mascarpone I randomly picked up at the store. The life of a food blogger I tell ya! We often buy things with no firm plan or a recipe knowing that when the inspiration strikes we better be ready!

In this case, inspiration struck me late at night – when my mind was too tired to apply better judgement – causing me to bake not one cake but TWO! That’s right you are in for a treat, my friends. One recipe – two cakes. What could be better?

Raspberry Limoncello Bundt CakeIngredients: (For the cake)

  • Flour, sifted-2 cups
  • Sugar- 3/4 cups
  • Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • Greek yogurt, plain- 1 cup
  • Milk-1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil- 1/4 cup
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tsp.
  • Limoncello- 1/4 cup
  • Raspberries, fresh or frozen- 1 cup

Ingredients: ( For Mascarpone Frosting)

  • Mascarpone- 300 gr/ 1 cup
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream- 150 ml/2/3 cup
  • Icing Sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Limoncello- 2 tbsp.
  • White Chocolate, melted for drizzling on top- 50 gr

Method: For the Bundt cake.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease your bundt pan. I like to use a pastry brush dipped in oil to brush all the little crevices of the bundt pan to make sure nothing sticks and then lightly dust it with flour.

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl whisk yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla extract, limoncello and eggs.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine until blended, then gently fold in raspberries.

Pour the mixture into the bundt pan, it shouldn’t be more than 2/3 full and bake for 60-65 minutes until the cake tester comes out clean. Cool until safe to touch and remove from the pan. Cool completely and dust with some icing sugar.Raspberry Limoncello Cake

Let’s be honest, baking is tricky and one little ingredient can throw off the entire recipe. So when I stumble upon a recipe I love I am very eager to use it in different ways. Why not elevate an every day bundt to a show stopping dessert! All you need is mascarpone. 🙂
Method: For Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone

Follow the instructions above for the bundt cake. Pour your prepared mixture into a 9″ pan and bake in the preheated to 350F/180C  oven for 40 minutes.  I would strongly urge you to not just rely on baking times provided by  recipes as oven temperatures vary. Instead, always test your cake for doneness with a cake tester or a tooth pick (I use a long metal skewer).

Cool your cake and remove from the pan. When your cake is completely cooled split it in two layers. (My trick for getting two even layers is scoring the outside of the cake with a sharp knife first, then wrapping a thick thread around the cake so it goes inside the slit and then pulling two ends of the thread while crossing them over each other. It works perfectly every time).

Now let’s make the frosting. I have to say this Mascarpone Frosting is one of my favourites. It’s no fail and as easy as a regular whipped cream frosting but since it’s more stable so if you want to pipe fancy design you can.

Mascarpone Frosting:

In a large bowl whip together your mascapone, whipping cream, icing sugar and limoncello until firm peaks form but don’t overbeat. It usually comes together in 5 minutes.

Fill your layer cake with mascarpone frosting and decorate the top with drizzled white chocolate and slices of lemon.

Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone FrostingRaspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I can’t even begin describe how fresh and delicious this cake tastes! Soft and buttery cake dotted with bright red raspberries and then that limoncello frosting. A dream. Try it. Have a tea party.Then tell me all about it.
Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Wild Things Cupcakes or Happy Birthday Vika!

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting I am so excited to finally being able to blog about the cupcakes that made my little girl’s birthday extra special.
Creating something new for my children every year on their birthday is not just fun for them but also an enjoyable challenge for me. Every year when they present me with a request (like a Sonic the Hedgehog or Hello Kitty cake) I am never sure if I can pull it off but after a little bit of research and trial and error I seem to end up with something we all love.

This year was no different except that Vika couldn’t settle on ONE cake  she wanted. I also lacked the inspiration and skill to deliver on her requests until I stumbled upon something very special by Sweetapolita who is my number one stop for anything cake and confection related. Vika is a huge animal lover and has a really soft spot for puppies so when I saw these hand stamped cupcakes by Rosie of Sweetapolita I knew exactly what I needed. Rubber stamps! The great thing about these cupcakes is that depending on a stamp you can create a great variety of cupcakes toppers. You never have to repeat yourself.Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions
I was delighted with how they turned out. All my hard work paid off when I saw the excitement and joy in my daughter’s eyes! These cupcakes were just perfect for a little girl’s birthday party as the cake toppers themselves evoked images of a child’s drawings. Don’t you think? And the tea towel that served as a back drop was made using the “self-portraits” of  the children in Vika’s class! Here is one done by Vika.:-)

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

You can use any cake recipe and any frosting recipe but you do need fondant, never used rubber stamps, paste food colours and a small brush to make these. Here is what I did.

A day (or a week ahead) ahead:

Roll out fondant as thin as you can on an icing sugar dusted surface and cut out medallions to fit the diameter of your cupcakes. Make sure you dust your surface well with icing sugar as fondant tends to be pretty sticky. Lay them out and dry overnight. I live in England where it’s often rainy so I really struggled to get my toppers very dry, and at one point I had a humidifier going for a while to draw all the moisture out!

As soon as your fondant toppers are dry you can stamp them. I used paste food colour (Dusky Pink by Sugarflair) with just a drop of water in it, then I painted each stamp with a small paint brush and stamped the toppers. Rosie of Sweetapolita made a great tutorial on her website if you would like more details. If you have ever used a rubber stamp before you can quickly master this technique.

Ingredients for the cupcakes {Makes 24}:

  • Cake Flour- 2 1/2 cups/275 gr
  • Baking powder- 1tbsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • Kefir or Buttermilk (I used Kefir)- 1 cup
  • Eggs-1 large at room temperature
  • Egg whites- 2 large at rooms temperature
  • Vanilla Bean (seeds scraped out)- 1
  • Sugar- 1 1/2 cups
  • Butter- 8 tbsp/115 gr at room temperature

Note: Recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

The wild things cupcakesThe Wild Things Cupcakes

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 F/160 C. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, in a separate bowl mix together the egg, egg whites, kefir or buttermilk and vanilla seeds.

In a large bowl whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. To the bowl with butter mixture add flour mixture and egg mixture in 2 or 3 additions alternating them, starting with the flour mixture and finishing with the flour mixture.

Fill your 2 lined muffin tins with cupcake batter about 2/3 full and bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • Mascarpone (chilled)- 8 oz/250 gr
  • Cream Cheese(chilled)- 8 oz/250 gr
  • Butter(at room temperature)- 1/2 cup/125 gr
  • Icing sugar- 1 1/2 cups
  • Vanilla- 2 tsp.
  • Paste food colour (Dusky Pink by Sugarflair)

Method: 

Combine mascarpone, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, sugar and food colouring if using in a food processor and pulse just until smooth and creamy. Do not overprocess. It’s important that your mascarpone and cream cheese are cold from the fridge and butter is at room temperature, this way you will have nice and stiff frosting that is easy to pipe. (This frosting could also be made using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.)

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes using a star tip and place your stamped medallions on top.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Fondant Medallions

My Honey Valentine, Russian Honey and Cream Cake “Medovik” or Fire and Ice

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Follow my blog with BloglovinHoney and Mascarpone Cream Cake "Medovik" with Caramel Flames

It’s Sunday and Valentine’s Day is long gone, but the leftover cake is still in my fridge and tastes better than ever. I love Valentine’s Day so much and I could care less that it’s been commercialised and turned into a sappy holiday with poorly written cards and tasteless teddies all over the place. I love the day that could be unashamedly ALL about my love for the most amazing man I know. We usually don’t go out on Valentine’s day, we made this pact on a V Day many years ago when we were still students living in Minneapolis and unable to get into any restaurants because of the reservations and waiting and pre-set menus…all the stuff that makes the day uncool. After being turned down by so many restaurants we wound up at the Olive Garden close to 10 pm too tired to enjoy the food, we agreed to never go out on the Valentine’s Day but stay in and still make the day completely out of the ordinary.

This year I decided to re-create our 10th anniversary celebration in France. Everything on the menu was a replica of our dinner in a tiny restaurant in Paris tucked away from the tourist area. We sat outside for hours while the rain kept pounding on the roof of the awning, there was not one person speaking English in view, the food was exquisite, the night was decidedly perfect.

How does my Russian cake fit into this? It doesn’t really but it’s an incredibly tasty treat that I never made for Brad, so there was my chance to rectify the situation.

I am starting with the dessert but there will be more posts, so come back if you like to know what kind of food you get served in France!

Back to the Honey Cake. The Russian name for it is “Medovik” and the first time I made it I was 13 or 14 when this cake was the “it cake”  in Russia. The recipe was being passed on from one household to another. It was impossible to have any sort of celebration without Medovik crowning the meal. It was so common that after a while it didn’t seem special anymore. I am glad I re-discovered this treasure because despite it’s simplicity of ingredients and the method of preparation the end result is far from plain.

Honey and Cream Cake "Medovik"

8 layers of honey goodness with creamy filling in between and adorned with caramel flames, this cake was a perfect finish to our romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day! Caramel flames is not the traditional decor for this cake but I wanted to add a little pizzazz to the special occasion cake and also  try my hand at making caramel. It turned out to be such a fun process, needless to say I was very pleased with the result.

Ingredients for cake:

  • Butter- 5 tbsp./70 gr
  • Sugar 1 cup
  • Honey- 2 tbsp. ( I prefer dark honey as it has richer taste. I used chestnut honey for my cake)
  • Eggs-3 large
  • Vanilla- 2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1tsp.
  • Vodka (although optional you wouldn’t believe me the cake was Russian if it didn’t call for vodka ;-))- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt-1/2 tsp.
  • Flour- 3 cups

Ingredients for the filling:

  • Creme fraiche- 2 cups
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) or vanilla essence-1

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • Mascarpone cheese (cold)-1 cup/250 gr
  • Whipping cream/Double Cream-1/2 cup
  • Icing Sugar- 1 cup
  • Vanilla Bean or essence

Ingredients for the Caramel Flames:

  • Sugar ( I used half brown and half white)-1 cup
  • Lemon Juice- 1/2 tsp.

Method for the cake:

This cake preparation method is quite different from what you might be used to but don’t let it deter you from giving it a go because the result is stunning and you will be able to brag about making this authentic Russian cake to all your friends.

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Set your double boiler or a large pot filled 2/3 with water and a glass or metal bowl over it on the medium heat. Melt butter, sugar and honey in the bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs and vanilla and pour the mixture in the double boiler while mixing the whole time (I use electric mixer) to avoid ending up with scrambled egg! Then add vodka, baking soda, salt and 2 cups of flour, continue mixing for a few minutes until the dough starts to thicken and come away from the edges of the bowl. Take it off the heat and add the last cup of flour, mix well. Be careful as the dough will be hot. Allow it to cool for a couple of minutes and then knead it with your hands until your get smooth, pasta like dough. What you are looking for is a cookie dough rather than a cake batter.

Divide into 8 equal parts and cover with a kitchen towel to avoid drying out. The cake layers will be baked separately on baking trays and then cut into neat circles using a 7″ cake pan, tart pan or, in my case, a pan lid as a template.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out a thin circle slightly larger than 7″, transfer on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 4-5 min. Watch closely as the cake layers burn quickly. Roll out the next layer while the previous one is baking. That is why you need to have 2 baking trays on the go. Remove from the over when golden brown and cut out a circle while still hot as the layers will turn into crisp biscuits in a couple of minutes. (Traditionally the scraps from the cake are turned into crumbs and pressed into cake sides and the top for the decoration. However, I decided to go the different route and use a stunning caramel piece for the top of my cake.) Cool on the cooling rack. Repeat the process until all 8 layers are done.

Filling:

Beat creme fraiche (can be substituted with sour cream) with whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved and it’s doubled in volume. Fill all 8 cake layers except for the top and the sides.

Frosting: 

Once again I’ve changed the frosting as in the original cake the above filling is used for the outside of the cake as well and later reinforced with the cake crumbs. Since I decided to go crumb free and wanted my cake to look a dinner date worthy, I’ve used a mascarpone frosting similar to the one I’ve used for Meringue Mascarpone Cake.

Beat cold mascarpone with icing sugar, vanilla and whip cream until stiff. Decorate the sides and the top of the cake with mascarpone frosting.

It needs to be noted that the cake is best served 24 hours after it’s made which is perfect when you are making a big meal as your dessert is already taken care of! A full day in the fridge allows all of those crisp layers to soften and soak all the wonderful flavours from the filling and the frosting.

Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"

Caramel Flames:

Mix sugar with lemon juice in a saucepan, set the saucepan on medium heat and don’t stir until the edges start to bubble up, then start stirring until all the crystals melted, sugar looks clear and deep amber colour. Take it off the heat and put the bottom of the pan in ice cold water to stop it from cooking immediately but don’t keep it there for too long or the caramel will harden before you have a chance to work with it.

Drizzle caramel with a spoon on parchment paper  that was previously sprayed with an oil spray, let it set. Then break up the hardened caramel and decorate your cake in any way you like.

Caramel

Caramel flames are best to be set on the top of the cake right before serving. You can have them made beforehand and pop them on top as you get ready to serve dessert. Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"

Meringue Mascarpone Cake and a Travel Anecdote

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Meringue Mascarpone Cake
Out of all my loves travel must be the biggest, especially when I get the chance to taste something new. Unfortunately, I do have quite high expectations for my restaurant food and if it’s something I can just cook at home I am not really interested. It takes me ages to choose a restaurant and then even longer to settle on a single menu item, treating each decision as if my life depends on it. It drives my husband crazy! That is why the story I am about to tell is so unusual.
It happened a few years ago in London, where we found ourselves on a short stopover on our way home to Canada. We just spent 2 weeks travelling through Italy and Slovenia when we found ourselves in the capital of England completely zapped of any energy and desire to see another castle or historical monument. There we were wandering around central London-not truly knowing what to do next but not ready to call it quits-when we stumbled upon a tiny bakery on a nondescript side street. The place itself didn’t look anything special and it had mostly bare shelves given the very late hour. We picked two slices that appealed to us the most-no thinking, no fuss on my part-and went to feast on them in our hotel room remembering that we brought a very special bottle of Prosecco from Italy that would go nicely with the cake. Surprisingly, both of the cakes were pretty spectacular but my story is about the one which true name I don’t know but became known between Brad and I as “the crunchy cake”. The flavour was quite pleasant but what really stood out to us was the texture. It was…well…crunchy. It was completely different from anything we’ve ever had before. We absolutely loved it.
A year later we moved to London and it seemed “the crunchy cake” left such an impression that every time we went out to central London we tried to find that little bakery. Unfortunately, when we first found it we didn’t know London at all so had no clue where the bakery was and where to look for it. The more time passed and the more we spent days fruitlessly searching the bigger the obsession grew with ‘the crunchy cake”. We talked about it so longingly that no dessert could ever compare. I started to fantasise about it in hopes of figuring out what it could possibly be made out of and how I could re-produce it. The obsession evolved but didn’t disappear.
Meringue Mascarpone Cake that brought this entire post about always intrigued me because- a.) it’s quite unique b.) I LOVE mascarpone in anything c.) it’s crunchy. I had the recipe for it bookmarked for a long time on Sweetapolita’s website but no occasion seemed grand enough for embarking on this 3- layer filled with creamy mascarpone and rich chocolate ganache extravaganza/cake making. The day before Christmas I opened my freezer and found dozens of frozen egg whites-the results of my eggnog making spree. I knew immediately what was coming next-a cake worthy of the one in my memory. This…
Meringue Mascarpone Cake
Have I mentioned that Christmas Day is also my birthday? I know that I’ve mentioned how picky about food I am, so for years I have gone without a birthday cake because I didn’t want to bake my own and the store bought didn’t seem good enough. Eating anything my husband could make was never going to be an option. Well, I am over it and loving making my own cake because it’s always exactly what I want and it’s so fun for me!!
Here is what you will need for this beauty:
Ingredients:

For the Meringue

  • Egg whites- 12/360 gr
  • Granulated sugar-2 1/2 cups
  • Salt-a pinch
  • Vanilla Essence-1tbsp.
For the Ganache
  • Dark Chocolate- 1lbs/450 gr (chopped in small pieces)
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream-2 cups/500ml
For the Mascarpone Filling
  • Mascarpone Cheese-2 cups/500gr
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream-1 cup/250 ml
  • Icing sugar-1/2 cup/125gr
  • Vanilla Bean-1(seeds scraped out)
  • Spiced Rum- 1/4 cup (I used Bacardi Oakheart Smooth and Spicy Rum)
Method:
1.Preheat your oven to 250F/120C. Trace 3 8″ circles on your parchment paper and place them on the baking sheets.
Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and refrigerate the egg yolks.
merengue
Wipe the mixing bowl with a bit of lemon juice to remove any traces of grease.
Start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form, with the motor still running add your sugar slowly and continue beating, add vanilla and beat longer until the meringue is stiff. The test that I use for the doneness is rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers, if it’s smooth and you can’t feel any sugar granules it’s ready to be baked. If the sugar is not completely dissolved keep beating. Make sure to stop the motor of your stand mixer (if using one)once in a while to give it a good stir with a spatula as the beater doesn’t reach the bottom. Otherwise,  you will end up with uneven meringue.
Divide the meringue among the three circles and smooth it out with a spatula to give them the shape of cake layers. I would recommend making the tops as smooth as possible, opposite to baking Pavlova where you’d want swirls.
Bake in the preheated oven for 2.5 hours rotating the pans every 20 min. (yes I really did that) until the meringue is dry all the way through. Turn the oven off and leave them in for another hour or even overnight if baking a day ahead.
2. Prepare your filling once your meringue is ready as it doesn’t take long. Place your chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in a saucepan, take off the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until combined. Let it cool a bit, use it when it’s cooled but still soft and spreadable.
3. Quickly whip softened mascarpone cheese for a minute or two just to loosen it , add whipping cream, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and spiced rum until light and fluffy. Taste the filling and adjust vanilla/spiced rum amounts if necessary.
Cake Assembly:
Place the first meringue on your cake stand and spread 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture on it, then spread 1/3 of the ganache, repeat the process with the other two finishing with the ganache layer. Decorate the top however your imagination leads you. I sprinkled white chocolate stars and silver balls for the festive touch.
Meringue Mascarpone Cake
I was so happy I decided to make my own birthday cake this year, especially as unique as this one. The crunchy meringue layers are contrasted by soft and creamy mascarpone and accented by the rich chocolate ganache. Pure perfection!!
Birthday celebration

P.S. As Brad and I got to know London pretty well after 2 years of living here, eventually we were able to retrace our steps of the first and memorable night in the city and find that elusive bakery that sold “the crunchy cake”. Once again we ordered two slices for “takeaway” and devoured them on the train ride home. As so often happens, the taste was much better in our imagination:-)