Summer Cake

Dahlias used to be one of my favorite flowers when I was a little girl. The garden at my grandma’s farm were graced with their vibrant and perfectly symmetrical flowers. There were many kinds with different sizes, petal shapes and colors to my contentment. The ones with the yellow honeycomb style along with the ruby giant were my favorites.

Last week I found some pretty dahlias and instantly I had the idea to make one of them with sugar paste. With the prettiest memories of my childhood spent in my grandma’s garden, I conquered one more sugar flower: a sweet yellow honeycomb, built petal by petal.

This summer flower is a befitting decoration for a cake filled with delicious summer flavors: peaches and raspberries. This indulgent cake consists of layers of almond cake filled with peach compote and raspberry jam covered with crème fraîche whipped cream.

Summer Cake

(Inspired by the books Ripe:  A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julie Child)

Almond Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake or three 4-inch mini cakes

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (250g)
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar (250g)
2/3 cup whole almonds (75g)
3/8 cup all-purpose flour (50g)
3/8 cup potato starch (50g)
4 large eggs
Line the cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Place the almonds and potato starch in a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Sift the ground almonds with the flour together. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until white and fluffy.
Add eggs to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, with the beater on low. Turn the machine off and add a third of the almond and flour, then turn the mixer on low until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the second and then the third batch of almonds and flour, switching the machine off each time. If you do this too quickly you end up with a heavy cake.
Using a rubber spatula, transfer the mixture to the lined cake pan and bake for thirty-five minutes. Rum a thin spatula around the edge of the pan, turn the cake out onto sugared wax paper, and leave to cool.

Peaches Compote

2 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 vanilla been or 2 tablespoons vanilla paste
1 cup water

Simmer the water, honey, and vanilla paste or bean in the saucepan and stir for some minutes. Add the peaches to the simmering syrup. Bring again to the simmer until there are tender about 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

Raspberry Jam

1 cup raspberry
1 tablespoon kirsch
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).

Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream

8 oz Crème Fraîche, cold
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Chill a mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes before beginning. Beat crème fraîche and milk in the chilled bowl until it begins to foam and thicken up. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream barely mounds. Do not overwhip.


Blueberry Cherry Muffins

This is the 100th post published on this blog. So I thought it would be a good idea to post something simple but at the same time elegant. Today I prepared for you blueberry cherry muffins made with homemade crème fraîche.

I chose a blueberry muffin recipe from the book Pierre Hermé Pastries, but I made some adaptations by adding some cherries and vanilla instead lemon zest. I also made some sugar carnations as embellishment to add some loveliness to these sweet goodies.

That was the first the first time that I prepared my own crème fraîche (which means "fresh cream" in French). I prepared it like described on the Dorie Greenspan's wonderful book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. It is not difficult to make it, but you will need about 2 days to transform the heavy cream into crème fraîche. Every dish became fabulous when you add this cream and it couldn't be different for these muffins.

I hope you are having a lovely week!

Crème Fraîche
(from the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan) 

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk or plain yogurt

Put the cream and buttermilk or yogurt in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the jar and shake for a minute or so.
Put the jar on a counter and leave it for 12 to 24 hours or until the cream thickens slightly. How long this will take depends on how warn your room is- the warmer the room, the quicker the thickening.
When the cream is thick, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let it chill for 1 day.

Blueberry Cherry Muffins
(Adapted from the book Pierre Hermé Pastries)

1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup crème fraîche
1 sticks melted unsalted butter
1 cup blueberries
½ cup pitted cherries
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 360°F
Sift the dry ingredients (sugar, salt, flour, and baking powder) into a bowl. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients (eggs, cream, butter, and vanilla extract). Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined, and then fold in the blueberries and cherries.
Distribute the dough into the paper-line cups of a muffin tin. Place the tin in the oven and bake the muffins for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat them cold.


Brazilian Sweets

The dessert tables in Brazilian parties are always filled with a lot of sweets, which we call "docinhos" in Portuguese. They are made mainly with sweetened condensed milk mixed with nuts, fruits or chocolate, and then shaped as little balls. They are decorated with sprinkles, sugar or nuts, according to the chose flavor. Today I will share with you some of the most popular Brazilian sweets: brigadeirobeijinho and bananinha. These three in special are great treats for kid parties. They are simple to prepare and beautiful for embellishing the dessert table.

I already used a lot of brigadeiro in other recipes, but today I prepared the traditional one. It uses cocoa powder instead of chocolate. You can decorate them with colored or chocolate sprinkles. Beijinho is made with coconut, sugar and condensed milk, coated in sugar. It is traditionally decorated with one clove, buy I used one raisin this time. Bananinha is made with very ripe bananas, sugar and gelatin, coated in sugar.  The preparation method for all these three sweets is basically the same: cooking and stirring all the ingredients on medium heat until you get a thick consistency. I'm sure you will love them! Happy weekend!


1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 Tb cocoa powder
sprinkles for coating

Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir the mixture until thick consistency or it starts to show the bottom of the pan while you scrape it with a spoon (about 15 min).  Transfer to a greased bowl. Grease your hands with butter, take small portions of dough and shape it as little balls. Coat them with sprinkles and place them in small paper cups.


1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
7 oz fresh grated coconut or coconut flakes
sugar for coating

Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir the mixture until  thick consistency. Transfer to a greased bowl. Grease your hands with butter, take small portions of dough and shape it as little balls. Coat them with sugar and place them in small paper cups.

makes about 20 little balls

7 ripe bananas
1 box red gelatin powder (flavor of your choice)
3 1/2 cups of sugar
Butter for greasing
Sugar for dusting

Peel the bananas and mash with a fork or blender.
In a saucepan, place the mashed bananas, 1 box gelatin powder and 3 1/2 cups of sugar.
Over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick consistency or when you can see the bottom of the pan (about 30 min).
Place the dough in a greased plate with butter and let it cool.
Grease your hands with butter, take small portions of dough and shape it as little balls. Coat them with sugar and place them in small paper cups.


A Special Cherry Cake

July was a very special month this year. My husband and I celebrated 10 years together and 2 years of marriage.  Since our first kiss, our days have been filled with love, happiness, passion, and each day seems to be better than the last. To commemorate these two important days, I prepared a cherry mousse cake: layers of sponge cake soaked in Kirsch syrup, cherry mousse and cherry jam covered with Kirsch whipped cream.

I love balloons! That’s why I used them on my wedding. There were a lot of them as part of the decoration and for guests entertainment too. So I decided to use some balloons on my cake photos making it more nostalgic and adorable.

I prepared a wonderful cherry jam that I used as filling and also to make the mousse. For this reason I opted for just use fresh cherries instead of maraschino cherries. I also used Kirschwasser (also known as kirsch), a colorless German brandy distilled from the juice of the morello cherry. It intensifies the cherry flavor, but it is not sweet like the Kirsch liqueur.

To make our celebration even more special, we enjoyed this cake with Champagne…

Cherry Mousse Cake

The day before prepare the cherry jam and the cherry mousse.

Cherry Jam
(inspired by the book The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef)

1 pound cherry
½ cup water
¾ cup kirschwasser
1 Tb lemon juice
A little bit of fresh coarsely ground pepper
 3 ounces sugar
½ teaspoon pectin powder

Wash, stem, and pit the cherries. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).

Use half of the jam to fill the cake and half to make the mousse.

Cherry Mousse

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tb butter
cherry jam
1 cup heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

Soak the gelatin in 2 Tb cold water for 20 minutes. Place the cherry jam, condensed milk and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the thick consistency. Incorporate the gelatin into the cream. Let cool. Whip the heavy cream.  Carefully incorporate the whipped cream into the cherry cream. Line 2 6-in pans with plastic film and divide the cream between the two pans. Let cool overnight on the refrigerator.

Sponge cake
from the book Ladurée Sucré
Makes 3 6-in pan

1 cup /120 g all purpose flour
2/3 cup / 120 g potato starch
10 eggs
½ cup +2 tbsp / 125 g granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 340°F/ 170°C.
Prepare 3 baking pans with oil cooking spray.
Sift together the flour and potato starch.
Separate the egg whites and yolks.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until pale. In another large dry bowl, with a clean whisk, bring the egg whites to foam. Once they are white and frothy, add the remaining half of the sugar and continue to whip until firm.
Right away, gently fold the sugar and egg yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the flour and potato starch over the mixture. Gently combine: start with the spatula in the center of the bowl, work up the sides of the bowl and bring the mixture back down towards the center, all the while turning the bowl regularly. Continue until you have a smooth and homogenous mixture.
Divide batter equally into 3 greased 6-inch baking pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes until lightly colored. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Kirsch Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kirschwasser

Heat sugar, Kirschwasser, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely before soak the cake.

Kirsch Whipped Cream

2 cups heavycream, cold
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Kirschwasser

Chill a mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes before beginning. Beat heavy cream in the chilled bowl until it begins to foam and thicken up. Add the powdered sugar, kirsch and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream barely mounds. Do not overwhip.

Assembly: Place one layer cake on a serving plate. Brush with 1/4 cup kirsch syrup. Spread the cherry jam over top. Remove cherry mousse from plastic film and place on top. Repeat to make 1 more layer of each. Top with remaining cake. Cover with kirsch whipped cream. Decorate as desired.

Note: I colored the gum paste with the cherry jam to make the sugar roses..


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