Many years of memories are all packed into this my favorite kitchen!

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen

It was my world into which I escaped while creating new recipes, re-created meals of my childhood in Croatia as a child, Refugee Camps living in Austria and then growing up in Los Angles, in America.  During that time I enhanced my culinary knowledge by attending classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Hide Park, NY, L’academie de Cuisine, Bethesda, Maryland, took classes with Ann Wieland at the Greenbrier, and became a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, as well as a member of the International Wine and Food Society… however my favorite time spent was in this awesome kitchen…Maja’s Viennese Kitchen…at home while teaching cooking classes with menus with “International Flavors”….

Many of the recipes you can find in the Archives on this Blog…


Copyright: Maria Reisz Springer……..

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen….





Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com

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This is a most simple cake with an amazing “look”!!!!!

I am going to tell you how to make this cake in the most simple way!

You do not have to go through baking the cake base by some old fashioned recipe…. my mother, once she discovered “Duncan Hines Butter Golden Box Cake Mix” …  she never looked at another German Vanilla cake recipe.

It is however important what you fill this cake with once it is baked and cooled. I make a Creme Patissiere Butter Cream and use it as a filling and also as an icing…

You will need:  Three cake layers, Vanilla Butter Cream, Strawberry Jam, whipped Cream and fresh strawberries to decorate the top of the cake!

Here is the recipe:

Maja’s Vanilla Butter Cream….

Make a thick custard first…

2 cups milk

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Place all the above ingredients into a saucepan and cook until it thickens and is thoroughly cooked.  Keep mixing it continuously so that it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Taste it to make sure it is completely cooked.

Cool the custard completely before you make the Vanilla Butter Cream!

When cooled place it into an electric mixer and mix it until soft and creamy…there should be no lumps in the custard.

Make Butter Cream…

4 sticks of unsalted butter (2 cups)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, sieved…it cannot have any lumps..

Cream the butter and sugar together until it is fluffy and light in color

While mixer is going add the cold/room temperature custard slowly to the butter mixture

Add all the custard, and mix slowly until it is all incorporated and and is pale yellow in color.

Now add Vanilla….about 2 to 3 tsp and mix well.

This cream is not as sweet as you are accustomed to creams in general in  America…

If you like you can always add more powdered sugar to the cream…. and make it to your liking!

Filling the cake….

When baked and cooled completely….I like to bake my cakes a day before I fill them….to settle them a bit…

You need three layers….

When the layers are cut…add the Vanilla  Cream and spread it over each layer…

Then add Strawberry Jam and spread it over the butter cream…and place the layers on top of each other…

Whipped Cream…..is optional….However I like to add the whipped cream over the butter cream…it always seems to me…that Strawberries need a little whipped cream to make them perfect.

Enjoy !



Maja’s Viennese Kitchen ……… http://www.majaskitchen.com …….

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com  

Thank you!!



Another Bridal Shower Cake…for a young bride and groom….!!!
The cake was decorated with some “oceanic” touches ….since the groom is a graduate of the Naval Academy….

According to the hostess…the bride’s aunt…who reported that…. “The cake was loved by all the guests…and some went back for a second slice!”

The cake was a simple Vanilla base, and filled with a Vanilla flavored butter cream and home made Strawberry Jam.  Each cake layer was sprinkled with drops of brandy to ensure a little spark with each bite. The cake was iced/covered with the same Vanilla buttercream, then refrigerated over night.  Next morning the cake was covered with whipped cream, that had little spots of pale blue color….a little water/wave touch…. and decorated with Nautical ornaments which were made from white chocolate…

It is a great honor to be asked to make a “special” cake with a “thought” in mind for an occasion that is a memorable time in people’s lives… I love the creativity in composing such a cake that will be a “memory” for a lifetime…

Maria Reisz Springer……. maria@majaskitchen.com….. http://www.majaskitchen.com

Mother’s Day 1949 in Austria!

A Re-Post from May 7, 2010 by majaskitchen

Mother’s Day was always very special for me, because, on that day I wanted to show mother how much I loved her and needed to tell her how important she was in my life. She was my very best friend as long as I can remember.

I remember a particular mother’s day in Kapfenberg while we lived in the refugee camp.

It was a Saturday and school was only half day.  My Austrian girlfriends were all discussing the Mothers Day Afternoon Coffee they were having with their families.  Walking together from school we passed a florist shop. They stopped and saw  beautiful potted Hydrangeas in various colors, they went inside and bought these lovely flowers to give to their mothers next day.

We were refugees from Coratia therefore, I had no money to do the same for my mother, and felt very sad.  As I walked slowly behind my friends and being close to tears, one of the girls turned around and asked: “ Would you like to come home with me and  pick Lilac blossoms from the bushes on our farm to give to your mother?”  She was the daughter of a farmer, a Berg Bauer, a mountain farmer, and had to walk a long distance to and from school every day.  I knew if I went with her I would not be home before dark and my mother would be terribly worried.  But knowing how happy I would make her to give her a bouquet of Lilacs, her very favorite flowers, the next morning, I decided to take the scolding that evening.

I remember walking home at dusk holding several branches of lilac in my arms, the blossoms dancing above my head and the fragrance making me dizzy with excitement.  I hid the Lilac branches behind a bush outside the building where we lived till the next morning.  Miraculously they survived in the cool night air and were still beautiful next morning when I gave them to my mother with a big hug.  I will never forget her smile expressing happiness and joy!

That same morning I baked my first Kugelhupf for our Muttertag’s Kaffee

This was a great luxury, since eggs were very scarce and a very small amount of butter was allotted per family.  The Table was set with a white embroidered cloth and the Lilac Bouquet placed in the center. This was a very special day.  It was Mothers Day in Austria and I was only twelve.

For your mother’s special day, you and your family you might want to create an Austrian Afternoon Coffee.  Here is the traditional Austrian Kugelhupf recipe to help you set the scene.

Der Wiener  Kugelhupf

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

6 whole eggs – separated

2 cups of flour, measured then  sifted

2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp Cointreau

6 Tbsp Milk

½  cup of raisins 0 optional

Zest of 1 orange

Powdered sugar

Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 F – Grease and dust Kugelhupf form.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

Add egg yolks – one at a time, beat well after every addition.

Sift together flour and baking powder

Add orange zest and the liqueur to the butter mixture

Add flour and milk alternately, mixing gently

Beat egg whites to medium peaks and mix into the above dough.

Add raisins

Pour into prepared Kugelhupf form

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 min.

Cool 15 min and turn out on to the platter

Dust with powdered sugar

Serve with shipped cream…….mit Schlag!

Happy Mothers Day!

I always gave mother lilacs on Mother’s Day.  If the blooms had disappeared on the bushes I found them either painted on a card, on a scarf, or on a pin, but, always lilac blossoms on her special day!



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In the Scandinavian countries…I found a most interesting way of fixing a meal…it can be breakfast, lunch or dinner…It is a “Smorgasbord” kind of a sandwich….It is created with whatever you have in the Deli Section in your refrigerator….or left-overs from yesterday’s meals…

Any kind of a combination of various prepared foods…ready to eat…can be piled up on a crusty slice of bread…..served on a plate….and eaten with fork and knife.

It was a while back when we had company for several days…and I prepared three meals a day.

With these kind of sandwiches…lunch was always a surprise….These here were created with a crusty slice of bread…a thin layer of mayonnaise, a touch of mustard and Layered with Ham, Deviled Eggs and a variety of Cheeses ..

I piled the sandwiches on on a tray with some peppers stuffed with Austrian potato salad….

My guests loved it…and I did NOT have to cook a hot meal….nor did I have to make peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwiches… ….. for my guests.

This kind of a meal lends itself…for a quick meal any time…!!!!!!!!!!!!



Maja’s Viennese Kitchen

Maria Reisz Springer…………………. http://www.majaskitchen.com

Chanticleer is a “Pleasure” Garden near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA….It is .beautifully laid out and designed….and meticulously maintained…. I am a member of the Glen Arm Garden Club in Baltimore,  Maryland, USA.  Every year we organize a day trip to a special garden where our hearts and souls rejuvenate in the beauty that surrounds us…

Here are some photographs that I took while walking and enjoying the grounds.


Hope you enjoy the walk through this magnificent garden….you might be transported to another world…at least for a little while… My best to everyone who spends a little while  with me among blooming trees, nodding tulips, smiling at blossoms you might not know by name…but the sheer beauty of them will make you smile for a little while.

Maria Reisz Springer

Maja’s Viennese pastries and more!

Find me on Facebook and connect with me just about every day!

The Colorful Easter Egg!

The history of the Easter egg varies, depending on the historian.   One story tells about the Roman Empire when people believed in many gods and how they obtained favors from them.  The Spring Goddess Ostara or Eastre was worshiped and honored by offering her baskets of colored eggs, and it is also said that her favorite pet was a hare.

During the early Christian era, and particularly during the time of Charlemagne (800-814 AD), Lent was observed by abstaining from eggs.  This practice lasted until 1784.  During the time of Lent all eggs that were collected from the hen houses had to be kept either for hatching, or were kept safely to be eaten at Easter.  To be kept edible for several weeks the eggs were dipped into melted mutton fat or wax.  At Easter they were then decorated to make them more attractive.  According to folklore these pretty eggs were given to children, because it was a pleasant and enjoyable  way of getting rid of the surplus.  It was always felt that “A pretty egg tastes better” and as time went on through the ages eggs began tasting even better when they were made from chocolate.

Color Easter Eggs with Vegetables,

Fruit and Spices!

Today I imagined I lived in the age of Charlemagne and was preparing to give gifts to the Goddess Eastre to obtain from her some special favors……I will not tell you my secret wish, but will tell you how I will entice this beautiful goddess to look upon me favorably.  I will beguile her with a gift that she would love most……..a basket of colored eggs.

Several days ago I stated to collect onion skins, and red cabbage leaves.  However, as I pretend to live in another era, yet live in the 21st century, I  went to the freezer and found frozen blueberries, and in the pantry Instant coffee and Turmeric which give nice colors to the eggs.  A bottle of Burgundy that went slightly bad in my non-refrigerated pantry, heavens… it was not stored in the wine cellar……..will give me a nice deep brown color. Oh, yes, I also found packets of Raspberry Herbal Tea……and wonder what that color would be?  It was a deep, pretty  gray that reminded me of a dove. First step is to boil the WHITE eggs……..you have to use white eggs only…… Wash them in some sudsy, warm water to get any oils off that may have stayed on them before they were packed into the cardboard egg carton……..and rinse them well with cool water. I like to poke a little hole – with an egg poker – to ensure that they do not break while cooking.  One can get that little gadget either in the grocery stores on the gadget wall or any kitchen store. Proceed with your favorite method of cooking hard boiled eggs. When cooked placed them into iced water to give them a quick cooling which helps with removing the shells more easily. This you can do a day ahead and refrigerate the eggs……..

To make the dyes………..

Note……use only stainless steel pots….enamel or china will be discolored with these dyes…..one can use glass containers/bowls or glass coffee cups……..

Yellow eggs with Turmeric

Add 2 cups of water into a 1 quart stainless steel pot…

Add 4 heaping Tbsp of Turmeric, mix and stir until all powder is mixed into the water

Add 1 tsp of vinegar

Bring this mixture to a boil and add your eggs, remove from heat and let the eggs be submerged for about 1 hour or longer.   The longer you keep the eggs in this dye the deeper the yellow color will be….

Rinse the eggs with cold water to remove any spice particles.

Pale blue to deep blue and purple eggs with Blueberries…..

Add 2 cups of frozen blueberries into a 2 quart pot Add 3/4 cup of water Add 1 tsp vinegar Bring mixture to a boil and cook the berries until they start popping, while mixing frequently Mash them with a potato masher to make a thick sauce like consistency.  If it seems too thick add a little more water When the berries are cooked, strain them into a glass coffee cup, it  will submerge  one egg . For a pale blue color – leave the egg in the juice for about 20 minutes.  For a darker blue color leave it in the juice for about an hour…or longer. Rinse the egg from any residue of the juice in cold water

Brown eggs with Instant Coffee…….

Use a glass cup and add about 4 heaping Tbsp of instant coffee, and pour hot water into the cup.  Mix well. Add the egg and let it sit in the coffee for about an hour or longer Rinse the egg briefly and let it dry

Red Cabbage leaves for Robin’s Blue eggs….

Place about 2 cups of chopped red cabbage leaves into a stainless steel 2 quart pot add water to cover the leaves. Bring them to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or longer, until the cabbage is pink in color and has released just about all the color.  Strain the liquid into a glass bowl or cup and place the egg into the dye….let it be immersed for about an hour……or longer.  Check periodically for the color intensity….if you like a light blue color on the egg take it out earlier if you like the blue color be darker……keep it in the dye longer…..it is your choice.

Onion Skins for a nice pinkish/brown color…….

You will need about a cup of packed onion skins to make a deep enough dye to color your eggs……. Place 1 cup of packed onion skins into a stainless steel 1 quart pot and add enough water to cover the skins. Bring them to a boil and let them simmer for about 30 minutes or longer….making sure that the water does not totally evaporate……..if the water level reduces add more water to cover the onion skins. When the color of the dye is a deep brown strain it into a glass cup, and add the hard boiled egg Keep the egg in that dye for about an hour or more…….the longer you keep it submerged the darker the color will be.  I like them lighter in color…..with less time they come out almost a pinkish brown color.

A drop of olive oil in your palm……….

When all the eggs are dyed and dried………place a little oil into the palm of your hand and rub it into your hands Now pick up every colored egg and oil them to make them shine………. You need just a small drop of oil……do not make them too greasy.

Here is my basket of colored eggs for the Goddess Eastre………who will hopefully bestow favors upon me and grant my secret wish!

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, http://www.majaskitchen.com

Thank you!