Friday, 11 December 2015

Truffle Cake

December 9th, the Eastern Christianity celebrates St. Anne. The name comes from Hebrew "Channah", meaning "favour" or "grace". St. Anne, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus is an emblem figure, keeper of the families, guardian angel of all mothers. 

It happens, that we celebrate this name holiday, because of a special little family member. Our Ana is blessed with her name and we are blessed to have that magnificent creature for a daughter. I am sure her name suits her perfectly. 

What Ana loves the most as a dessert? Chocolate, may be some chocolate and a bit of chocolate, garnished with chocolate. I decided to make this truffle cake for her and knew it will become her favourite. What is truffle cake without truffles? I am very happy to use the formidably looking and delicately delicious truffles from Ferrero Rocher. They complete my recipe perfectly. 

for the cake:

60 g chocolate
100 g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks

4 egg whites
125 g sugar

110 g flour

prepare the cake:

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line an 8" cake pan.

1. Melt the chocolate at medium heat over a bain-marie. Set aside.
2. Beat the butter and salt until very creamy. Add the vanilla extract. Beat well.
3. Beat in the melted cooled chocolate.
4. Add the yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar, until soft peaks are formed.
6. Fold in the whites to the butter mixture, alternating with the flour, finishing with the whites. Work gently to keep the volume of the whites.
7. Transfer to the pan and bake until the cake inserter comes out dry.
8. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

for the filling:

570 ml heavy cream
450 g dark chocolate Lindt

prepare the filling:

(prepare the filling a day in advance)

1. Chop the chocolate in a bowl.
2. Bring the cream to a boil.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy.
4. Refrigerate overnight or at least for 6 hours

prepare the chocolate shavings:

With a carrot peeler, "peel" a  block of Lindt chocolate to create chocolate shavings. Reserve at cool place until needed.


1. Cut the cake into four layers
2. Layer the cake, alternating the cake layers and filling.
3.Thinly cover the whole cake with the filling and freeze for an hour.
4. Cover with another thin layer of filling and smooth nicely. Keep it at room temperature. Save some of the filling to pipe the rosettes.
5. Cover with the chocolate shavings. Pipe twelve rosettes around the edge of the cake. Top each one with a truffle.
6. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
7. Store in a cold place. Serve cold.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Cream

This autumn was really pretty and stayed for the longest time. I have a feeling it is still fall outside - the flowers still have colours, the wind does not cut your ears when you walk outside, and robins are still chasing each other in the sky.

My roses were blooming in November. I did not cut them this year, I left them bloom and they really did to some point. Later though, they closed and prepared for the winter sleep.

In the month of December, there is a strong need for warmth and love. We do not have the snow out yet. But a nice glass of wine and a piece of chocolate cake in a late dark December night is always appreciated.

I think Smitten kitchen's idea has a perfect place in my collection of recipes now. 

This cake has a dense texture, but a very light taste. Red wine looses the alcohol during baking. As a characteristic of wine, tannin adds both bitterness and astringency as well as complexity. Tannins leave a unique after-taste to the cake, that makes a perfect combination with the mascarpone topping. 

for the cake:
(use a bundt cake form for this recipe)

125 g butter
180 g golden brown sugar
150 g custard sugar
3 large eggs

200 g flour
60 g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

180 ml red wine, Merlot
50 ml tangerine 
20 ml heavy cream

prepare the cake:

1. Scale the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Measure the liquid ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter and both type of sugar, until very light and pale.
4. Ad the eggs - one by one.
5. Add one third of the liquid and then alternate with the dry ingredients.
6. Bake at 180°C, until a toothpick in the centre comes out clean.
7. Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

for the topping:

200 g mascarpone cheese

30 g confectioners' sugar
200 ml heavy cream

prepare the topping:

1. Beat the mascarpone slightly.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the well chilled cream with the confectioners' sugar, to soft peaks.
3. Beat well both ingredients until well combined.


1. Using a star shaped nozzle, fill a piping bag with the topping.
2. Pipe swirls and stars of your choice.
3. Chill the cake for 4 hours.

Sunday, 25 October 2015


for the yellow cake:

You will need half recipe of Genoise Cake
You will need one recipe of chocolate ganache 

for the chocolate cake:

4 egg whites
180 g sugar
200 g butter, softened
3 g vanilla extract 

180 g all purpose flower
40 g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder

Heat the oven to 170. Prepare a round 6" cake form.

1. Beat the egg whites with 2/3 of the sugar, until firm.
2. Beat the butter with rest of the sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. 
3. Combine the dry ingredients. Add 1/3 of it to the butter. Beat slightly.
4. Add half of the egg white mixture. Mix. Add the second third of the dry ingredients, followed by the whites, finishing with the last part of the flour.
5. Bake in the prepared pan for about 30-40 min, or until dry centre.


1. Cut the cooled cakes in two layers. The chocolate cake is cut in three layers. Cut the third layer in small pieces and store in an air tight container. Have the pieces on their own. Perfect tea deserts.
2. Use two different size glasses or bowls. Using the bigger bowl, cut out the bigger insert of both - white and cocoa cakes. Cut out the smaller inserts from the first cut cakes. 
3. Place the bigger white cake inserts in the chocolate rings, and fill with the chocolate smaller cakes. Fill the white cakes ring with the chocolate bigger cake and fill with the white small cake insert. 
4. Assemble the cake, spreading the chocolate ganache on each layer, making sure the checkmate effect is achieved.
5. Glase top and sides of the cake with the rest of the ganache.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Thanksgiving Party

You will need:

one recipe Genoise cake
one recipe Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, in which almonds are substitute for pecans
two recipes Pumpkin Cream Mousselin
one recipe Pecan Paste

a lot of chocolate leaves

for the Pumpkin Cream Mousselin:

250 ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean

3 egg yolks
100 g brown sugar

30 g corn starch
30 g white flour
5 g cinnamon 

130 g butternut squash - rosted 

120 g unsalted butter, softened 

1. Roast the pumpkin the day before. Peel the butternut squash and cut in small pieces. Roast on a parchment paper, until softened. Let it cool. Work the pieces in a blender, until purée consistency. Close in a box and refrigerate. 

2. Scale the dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. Beat slightly the egg yolks and two thirds of the sugar . Mix in the dry ingredients.

3. Scrape the seeds from half vanilla bean into the milk, add the last third of the sugar and bring to boil. 

4. Pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly (dissolving the sugar). Pour the yolk mixture back to the pot where the other half of the milk is and place over medium heat. Stir constantly.

5. Place the pastry cream in a deep dish, cover it with cling foil, (the foil should touch the cream) avoiding crust to be formed. Leave to cool at room temperature. 

6. Beat in the pumpkin purée.

7. Whip in the softened butter.

8. Cover with foil and refrigerate, until needed. Before use, Whip the cream.

for the pecan paste:

200 g pecans
200 g custard sugar

1. Toast the pecans for 5-7 min at 180 C.
2. Caramelize the sugar. Add the pecans and stir to cover all the nuts in caramel.
3. Spread on a parchment paper and let cool.
4. Brake the pieces of caramelized pecans into a blender and pulse to crush. Continue blending, until the paste is formed.
5. Store in a jar, until needed.

Thanksgiving is all about giving gratitude, respect and sharing autumn taste. I love this holiday. Everything my sous chef :) and I did, we did with love and devotion. It was the best time spent collecting leaves, making them into chocolate duplicates, testing the recipe, and choosing to sleep less at the night before Thanksgiving, so to manage to finish our gifts. What precious time for me...!

The combination of dark chocolate and Pumpkin Mousselin cream is just indescribable. A definite autumn taste and at the same time very delicate and high class.

Beautiful Thanksgiving

What a wonderful autumn is this one. And today was a perfect holiday - a day of giving and thanking the ones, who make our lives different ... in a very inspiring and magical way.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with my family!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Fried Chicken and Herbal Rice

Well..., I know... unusual topic.

It is every year around this time. After a warm and eventful (or not so much) summer, we all have to adjust back to the routine of the school year. This is the time my world stops spinning with the normal Earth speed rotation, but makes a wild fast detour, resulting craziness, dizziness, madness and chaos. First days are the worst. My biggest problem is the lunch ... What to prepare? How to organize healthy and delicious food? When will I have time to cook lunch, plus the dinner? Time is so limited...

Here is my suggestion for the first day at school: Bento Box with delicious fried chicken, fresh vegetables and herbal rice.

for the chicken:

one slightly boiled chicken, cut in pieces
corn meal
one egg

prepare the chicken:

1. Clean and cold wash the chicken. Place it in big pot, add 1 Tbsp salt, cover with cold water and cook it for 15 min over medium heat.
2. Remove the chicken in a plate and cut in pieces.
3. Strain and reserve the broth.  

For a nice crispy crust, cover each chicken piece with corn meal, followed by egg wash. Fry  the pieces individually in a very hot oil bath. Leave them on a paper towel, before serving.

for the herbal rice:

70 g chopped baby carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup Italian sticky rice
1 small fresh branch of tarragon
1 small fresh branch of thyme
5-6 fresh leaves of Mentha Spicata
4 fresh leaves sage
1 small bunch of parsley
1 small branch of fresh savoury
freshly grounded pepper
2 cups home made chicken broth
olive oil for frying 

1. Place the olive oil in a heavy pan over high heat. Cook the sage leaves until slightly brown. Discard the leaves.
2. Add the carrots, onion, all the herbs and the pepper. Cook for 2-3 min. Add the rice. Cook stirring constantly, until the rice changes its colour. (My grandpa used to say "Until it becomes pink". I am still trying to find that colour in the rice :( 
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the broth and the salt. Return to the heat. Leave it open at the lowest heat setting. If you find that it still boils, reduce the heat even more. 
4. When almost all of the liquid is absorbed, but still has some of it, switch off the stove, cover, and let it stay for half an hour. 
5. Sprinkle more freshly cut herbs. Cover again.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Lemon Cookie mini-cakes

for the cookies:

180 g unsalted butter
70 g vegetable shortening
grated zest from two lemons
310 g sugar
5 g salt
1 large egg
8 g vanilla extract
60 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed 

625 g flour
18 g baking powder

prepare the cookies:

1. Cream the butter, shortening and the zest together. Add the sugar and beat until creamy fluffy. Add the salt.

2. Add the egg. Beat until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and half the lemon juice. Mix lightly.

3. Incorporate half of the flour, alternating with the other half of the lemon juice and the rest of the flour. Mix until the dough is formed.

4. Divide the dough in two. Roll it out between two pieces of wrapping foil. Place on a flat surface and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

5. With a round cookie cutter, cut out cookies.

6. Using a cookie cutter with a smaller diameter, cut the centre of half of the cookies to form a ring. Make the cut out centres into button cookies.

7. Place all the cookies in a lined with parchment paper sheet pan and bake in a preheated to 180C oven for 8-10 min, or until golden.

8. Leave the cookies to stay in the pan for 5-8 min and remove on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight container until assemble the mini-cakes.

for the Lemon Filling:

1 g gelatin sheet (1/2 gelatin sheet)
175 g butter, diced in a bowl (1 1/2 stick, 6 oz.)
2 eggs
135 g sugar (3/4 cups, 5 oz.)
130 ml lemon juice (1/2 cup)
30 g ground almonds (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp, 1 oz.)

1. Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water until softened.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk lightly.
3. Whisk in the lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat. 
4. Cook the mixture, until thickens. Remove from the heat.
5. Squeeze the gelatin dry, add to the lemon cream and stir, until dissolved.
6. Strain over the butter. 
7. Stir the almonds into the cream.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.


1. Spread some filling in the centre of each of the plain round cookies. 
2. Cover with the ring cookies. Press down gently, until the filling fills the rings evenly.
3. Store in a refrigerator.