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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strawberry Cream Puff Cake

I have come to love the blog over at My Kitchen Cafe, she is always posting such amazing recipes, that I simply can't get enough of. This one in particular reminded me of a nice spring day BBQ and what you would serve for dessert. It is amazing, it's much simpler than making individual cream puffs, and yet you get the same effect. You can top it with whatever fruit you like, especially if strawberries are not in season, but the strawberries compliment the flavors of the orange zest in the cream cheese mixture. Yummy is all I can say, you will definitely have to give it a try!

Cream Puff Base:
5 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup flour
3 eggs

Cream Cheese Mixture:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar

For the cream puff layer, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring the butter, water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once and stir quickly until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is shiny with a satiny sheen. Don't overbeat. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (or in a pinch, you could use a 9-inch circle cake pan). Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture on the bottom and one inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and prick pastry with a toothpick 10-12 times. Return to the oven and bake 5-10 minutes more until golden brown but not overbaked (you can insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out with sticky dough, it still needs longer in the oven). Cool completely.

For the cream cheese mixture, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar (if you want to ensure there are no lumps, sift the powdered sugar into the cream cheese) and beat with the cream cheese until mixture is smooth and light. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread onto the cooled cream puff shell.

Top with fresh sliced strawberries (I mixed 2 cups of strawberries with 1 teaspoon sugar and let them hang out in the fridge while I was prepping the cake) or you can use a 16-ounce bag of frozen strawberries that have been thawed. Mix the thawed strawberries and juice with 1-2 teaspoons sugar and bring to a simmer in a saucepan. Cook until slightly thickened. Cool completely and use as topping for the cake.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mousse de Maracuja Cake

Ahhh the passion fruit! For those of you unlucky enough to have never been to Brazil, or to never have tasted passion fruit, let me be the first to introduce you. My first memory of eating in Brazil was Mousse de Maracuja or passion fruit mousse at the home of a sweet Brazilian woman. I was a fan from my first mouthful. When I came across this recipe I knew it was one I was going to want to keep around. I love Tres' Leches cake, which is also a moist/wet cake, and knew that one involving maracuja would be even better. For those of you without access to the fresh fruit, you can usually find the pulp/juice concentrate at most hispanic or south american food stores. Be sure that you are getting pulp or concentrate and not a watered down sugared juice. If you wanted you could also make just the mousse, and serve it in dishes, and it is delicious by itself.

For the Cake:
  • 1 plain white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
For the Passion Fruit Mousse:
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen passion fruit pulp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
For the Passion Fruit Syrup:
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen passion fruit pulp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the cake mix, 3 eggs, 2 egg whites, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup buttermilk, and 1/3 cup water. Mix for 2 minutes or until well blended.

  3. Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with wax paper, and divide the cake mix between the 2 pans.

  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

  5. Let cakes cool 10 to 15 minutes in the pans. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and flip them out of the pans. Set aside to cool.

  6. While the cakes are baking, make the mousse: Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside for 5 minutes. Microwave for 15 seconds or until gelatin is dissolved (do not overheat). Whisk the melted gelatin into the passion fruit pulp and set aside.

  7. Make the cake soaking syrup: Bring 3/4 cup passion fruit pulp and 3/4 cups sugar to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, and remove from heat. Let cool and set aside.

  8. Make the italian meringue: Add egg whites to the clean bowl of a standing mixer. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the syrup starts to thicken and the bubbles are popping slowly.

  9. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.

  10. Slowly add the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites. Pour syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl to prevent splattering. Work carefully to avoid burns.

  11. Beat the meringue on high speed for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low and continue to beat so that the meringue will cool.

  12. While the meringue cools, beat the whipping cream until very soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.

  13. Fold the the passion fruit/gelatin mix gently into the egg whites. Do not overmix.

  14. Whisk a small amount of the meringue/passion fruit mixture into the whipped cream, then gently fold all of the whipped cream back into the meringue mixture.

  15. Slice each cake layer in half horizontally, so that you have 4 layers. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with a circle of wax paper. Butter the inside of the springform pan.

  16. Place one cake layer, cut side up, in the bottom of the springform pan. Brush the cake with 1/4 of the syrup. Spread 1/3 of the mousse over the cake.

  17. Cover mousse with another cake layer, and brush cake with syrup. Spread another 1/3 of the mousse over the cake.

  18. Continue to layer, ending with the fourth cake layer. Press cake down gently into the pan. Brush top of cake with syrup. Chill thoroughly - at least 4 hours to overnight.

  19. Pop the side of springform pan off of cake in one quick motion. Gently lift ring off, leaving cake on base.

  20. Add sugar to remaining whipped cream, and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Spread whipped cream around sides of cake and on top. You can also use a pastry bag with star tip to pipe the whipped cream onto the top of the cake. Decorate with fruit, and serve chilled.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Apple Pie Bars

When I saw this recipe, I knew I would need to try it out and sure enough it was fabulous. I got this recipe from Recipe Girl, another one of the great blogs I frequent. These bars are just like a little slice of heaven, if you like apple pie, you will love these! Though they are a little time consuming (not your quick dessert) you will be able to taste the difference in the final product.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water, as necessary

3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

1. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour, spices and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a very large, deep skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. (If you don’t have a large skillet, divide between 2 skillets). Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to the pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.

3. Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using fingers (wash your hands and take off your rings first!), squeeze the butter into the oats & sugar and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into clumps.

4. Assemble the bars: Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking, and keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn’t getting too browned. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.

Makes 4 dozen bars

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

My mom use to make these alot when I was growing up for special occasions, and I use to love that I would get my very own little cheesecake. They are a great thing to make as dessert for a dinner party or a large party. I hope you enjoy them!

  • 1 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling or other topping of your choice.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line miniature muffin tins (tassie pans) with miniature paper liners.
  2. Crush the vanilla wafers, and place 1/2 teaspoon of the crushed vanilla wafers into each paper cup.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each miniature muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool. Top with a teaspoonful of cherry pie filling.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal & Banana Pancakes

We ate these delicious pancakes this morning and they're a new favorite! I found it here on All Recipes. Below are the changes I made, and I'll make it this way in the future: 

*I didn't blend the oats, I just used a cup of quick oats. *I didn't have powdered milk, so I used ground flax seed instead. *I added some cinnamon to the mix. *The picture shows blueberries...I didn't use any but I think next time I will! *I may also try using only whole wheat flour next time.


  • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed


  1. Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.