This cake story has a happy ending. Once, many years ago, someone gave my grandparents’ neighbor a flourless chocolate cake. The neighbor had a slice and couldn’t finish it because it was too rich. She brought the cake over to my grandparents and they each had a slice and couldn’t finish them, because they were too rich. I had a slice and I couldn’t finish mine either and, well…you can guess why. So my grandparents, not wanting to be wasteful, put the cake in the freezer and forgot about it for a very long time. Whenever I opened the freezer and saw it, I wondered why none of us could eat more than a few bites of that rich cake. Although I don’t know for sure, it was probably because the ratio of chocolate to butter was off. But I do know that serving it with something acidic, like berries or raspberry sauce, would have helped immensely.
The happy ending to this story is that this flourless chocolate cake was created to be enjoyed to the last bite. It’s decadent, but not overly rich. It has a good balance, not too sweet or too bitter. The raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries compliment it perfectly. This luscious cake is also delicious with strawberries or any combination of berries you like. It’s also delicious served with salted caramel sauce. I wish my grandparents were still around to give my version of a flourless chocolate cake a try. I think they would have loved this cake and finished every last bite!
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 6-inch springform pan** with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray. Wrap the bottom two inches of the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Set pan in a baking pan.
Combine chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and salt.
With a large spatula, gently fold beaten eggs into chocolate mixture in three additions until no streaks of egg remain. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Smooth top of batter with a small offset spatula.
Pour 1 1/2 inches of boiling water into baking pan. Bake until top is set and internal temperature*** reaches 140ºF, about 28-37 minutes.
Remove cake pan from water bath. Cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight, but cake is best served the day it's made).
Remove cake from pan when chilled and set. Top with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.
To serve, remove cake from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving and serve at room temperature for best texture. Serve with raspberry sauce.
Purée raspberries in blender or food processor. Pass purée through a fine mesh sieve**** to remove seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch.*****
In a small saucepan, heat raspberry purée with sugar and cornstarch slurry to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
*Chalazae are the opaque chords of egg white. Removing them is optional, but they do show up as white spots in the cake after baking.
**To find the 6-inch springform pan I used, click here.
Whether you call them apple blossoms, apple dumplings or apple fussbudgets, (which are named after your great grandfather’s second wife’s cousin), these are cute little apple pastries. I made them because I was craving apple pie, but I didn’t have enough apples to bake one. I didn’t invent them, and I don’t know who did, but I’ve had frozen ones and I’ve seen them on restaurant menus. I thought it would be fun to make them, and it was! I could’ve just put some pie dough in muffin cups and made quick little pies, but flower shaped things automatically get extra points for cuteness. And if you know me, you know I love my cute bakes!
In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice until combined.
Add brown sugar, sugar, melted butter, flour, cinnamon and salt to apples. Stir until combined.
In a medium bowl, mix together all topping ingredients. Set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough to 1/8-inch thickness.
Cut out 12 5-inch blossom shapes, re-rolling dough as necessary.*
Lightly mark a 2-inch circle in the center of each blossom. Make cuts between the petals to separate them, just up to the edge of the center circle.
Top each blossom with about 2 generous tablespoons of apples.
Brush dough petals with egg wash. Form blossoms by lifting and overlapping each petal 1/2-inch in a spiral pattern similar to a rose. Tuck the last petal under. Press petals together to seal so filling won't leak out.
Top each with a spoonful of topping. Place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Don't skip this step. This will help blossoms keep their shape.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Brush blossom dough all over with egg wash. Wipe any drips off of parchment paper. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is starting to bubble, about 23-28 minutes.
Drizzle blossoms with caramel sauce.
*When re-rolling pie dough, cover and let rest for several minutes to help avoid shrinkage.
Yellow is the color of happiness and sunshine. These adorable Lemon Scones will bring you a burst of lemony brightness even on the grayest day. The pretty, vibrant yellow sparkling sugar adds a pleasant crunch to the tops. It’s a nice contrast to the soft, tender interior of the scones. These little gems would shine on any breakfast or brunch table. I served them with blueberry jam and green tea, which was so delightful, I’m still smiling.
Hear me out. Imagine you’re in a beautiful room, reclining on a plush velvet chaise lounge. There’s a dainty table nearby. On the table is a cake pedestal with a little pyramid of small, perfectly plump, pink pastries. They’re filled with sweet, luscious strawberry cream. And they’re all yours. This Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles recipe can make that dream come true. Maybe not the velvet chaise lounge, but really any comfortable chair will do while you indulge in these delicious little gems. Profiteroles have a way of making you feel regal and indulgent. I think princesses and princes snack on them. Most of us don’t have a personal pastry chef or the budget to order from French bakeries every day, but we can certainly follow a recipe and make one of the easiest pastry doughs there is. Choux pastry or pate à choux is used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, eclairs, churros and other pastries. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.
This recipe features fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will work too. You can also substitute raspberries or peaches. To find the recipe for Peaches & Cream Profiteroles, click here. The strawberry purée can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To make it easy on myself, I like to make the strawberry purée on day one, the pastry cream on day two, then make the profiteroles and strawberry icing and assemble on day three. It’s also helpful to practice the French culinary style of prep, mise en place, which means to have all of your ingredients and equipment in place before you begin. Everything will go much smoother and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles
Bite sized choux pastry puffs filled with fresh strawberries and cream filling and topped with fresh strawberry icing
Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor. Strain puréed strawberries through a sieve.
Transfer strawberry purée to a small saucepan. Stir in lemon juice.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until strawberry purée is reduced by half.
Remove from heat. Stir in strawberry extract. Set aside to cool completey.
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
When milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
Pour mixture through a sieve placed over a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
Set aside 2 tablespoons of strawberry purée. Add remaining strawberry purée to cooled pastry cream and stir to combine. Cover strawberry pastry cream and chill in refrigerator.
In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with an electric mixer at high speed. Fold whipped cream into cooled strawberry pastry cream. Set aside in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper,
Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until steam dissipates and mixture cools to lukewarm.
Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. (I used *Ateco tip 808)
Pipe 1 1/4-inch mounds, about 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Smooth tops with a wet finger.
Bake 15 minutes, then turn down the oven heat to 350ºF and continue baking until golden brown, about 8-10 more minutes. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick a small hole in each profiterole to allow steam to escape. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Use the tip of a paring knife to make a pilot hole in the bottom of each profiterole.
Place strawberries and cream filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. (I used **Wilton tip 12)
Place tip into the pilot holes and fill each profiterole with filling.
In a medium bowl, whisk all icing ingredients together until smooth. Spoon over filled profiteroles. Refrigerate profiteroles until ready to serve.
These Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts have three individual components, which, when combined together, are absolutely delicious. I experimented with each separate component of this recipe until I perfected them individually. The tart crust is flaky and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling. The filling is just sweet enough for my sweet tooth and the whipped cream has just enough Earl Grey flavor.
This recipe makes enough whipped cream to cover the entire tops of the tarts or you can be like me and try to be artistic and avant-garde with your whipped cream. To make the Earl Grey infused whipped cream, use your favorite Earl Grey tea, whether it’s loose leaf tea or a teabag. We don’t discriminate here. All forms of tea are welcome! I do have a favorite Earl Grey tea. If you want to check it out, click here. The tea will make your whipped cream a dull pale yellow. This issue is purely aesthetic. I added a tiny bit of violet gel food color which brightens the whipped cream. You can add more if you want a lavender shade.
Ever since a certain celebrity cut a hole from the middle of her favorite olive oil cake back in 2020, the internet has been obsessed with olive oil cakes. I must confess that I was a fan of olive oil cakes long before that! I first tasted one at a restaurant years ago and fell in love. The flavor and texture was so delightful, that all it needed was a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Now that the dust has settled, I’m sharing my favorite orange olive oil cake recipe. Not because it was ever trendy, but because it’s a really delicious recipe that tastes like spring.
I made cute little orange scented, personal cakes that are really just elegant cupcakes. The recipe is easily adapted to your tastes. You can switch up the orange flavor and substitute with lemon or any citrus of your choice. Even if you don’t like olive oil, you’ll still like these little cakes. I use light olive oil, rather than extra virgin olive oil, for a more subtle olive oil flavor. Feel free to use your favorite olive oil or replace it with the oil you prefer. Grape seed, avocado and canola oil are some examples of oil you can use as a replacement.
This recipe contains almond flour. It helps with texture and flavor, so it’s a necessary ingredient. Almond flour can be pricey, but it’s good to have on hand. Adding it to your baked goods will make them more moist and tender. To find almond flour click here,