Her 87th birthday was very special!   

My friend celebrated her special birthday with her whole family ..

.her children, grandchildren and great-great children..

.Four Generations all got together to celebrat Grammy!!!!!

For that very special occasion I made a Viennese Chocolate Cake…like my mother would have made it.  It was actually a Vanilla Based Cake with a center layer of a chocolate cake.  I filled the cake with a Austrian Butter Cream flavored with a touch of Vanilla and Orange flavoring, and a layer of home made Strawberry jam.    The finishing touch was the Chocolate Butter Cream…and my “fru-fru decoration piped to make the cake look a little “old-fashioned”!

Here are some pictures of this special Celebration Birthday Cake!!!

Happy Birthday …Bernice!



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A Celebration Cake!

I was asked to make a cake to help elebrate 25 years of a Happy Marriage…

The mother of the bride, who gave the party for her daughter and her son in-law, gave me guidence in what her daughter might like in a cake…

It was such fun making a cake that would bring a smile to the “Bride and Groom” with memories of their happy day twenty five years ago….

The cake was a butter/yellow cake…with layers filled with butter cream and home made strawberry jam.  Then covered with the European butter cream and decorated with the same cream.  I was also asked to flavor the cream with Lemon flavoring…but, I also added a little freshly squeezed lemon juice into the cream with the result of tasting the true lemon …rather than just smelling the lemon flavor… Just the mere drops of lemon made the cream a true Lemon Cream….The bride apparently also liked the pink Rosettes …which definitelly were the “sweet” touch to the cake…!

Here is what I created for them….


Maja’s Viennese Kitchen



During the time when Toulouse Lautrec was famous in Paris…with all his other artist friends…a new wave of creating cakes was started….The pastry bakers started to decorate cakes with creams and small pastries and candy….I had happened on a book on Toulouse lautrec where his time and life was documented… Among the stories of his life and artist-friends…there were recipes of the food that was popular at that time in Paris…among these recipies…were pictures of cakes and the new way of decorating them…all probably influenced by the artits’ and their creativy on canvas!

Here are a few that I created at that time…for various dinner parties…It was the beginning of my pastry business….

heart cake


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What is the difference between a Banana Bread and a Banana Cake?    To me it is all about what  baking pan you use in which you bake this sweet bread and also, the time or event you serve it to your guests.

Here are some pictures to show the difference in presenting this wonderful baked “recipe!”

Here is a pictures of my “Banana “Bread”……

Banana Bread 046

And,the same recipe can be made/served like a….

Banana Cake!”


Here is the recipe….

Banana ….Bread/Cake

1/2 cup butter  (1 stick or 1/4 lbs)

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups banana pulp ( about 3 frozen very ripe bananas thawed)

1/2 cup Sour Cream

2 cups flour – not sifted

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Orange Flavor

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

3/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts or hazelnuts or pecans

1/2 cup raisins

½ cup shredded coconut – optional

½ cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup chocolate chips

Note:   You can add as many, and any kind  of dried fruit as you like and have in your pantry or refrigerator.  The batter is moist enough to handle any addition of fruit….

Cream butter and sugar until very yellow and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time and beating them thoroughly.

Mash the banana pulp with a fork and add it to the mixture above.

Add the flavors and zest into the mixture next.

Place a strainer over a bowl and sift the flour together with the baking soda. Add the flour mixture into the batter and mix gently but, well.

Place the nuts, raisins, chocolate chips and chopped Apricots into a separate bowl, and dust them with a little flour by mixing them together.

Now add the above mixture into the batter while alternating with the sour cream.

Mix well but do not over mix.

Bake the cake in loaf pans or a Bundt cake form – at 325 F until cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hr or a little longer.


Maria Reisz Springer

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen



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In the middle of the Summer I cannot stay away from making …Jam….or  some people call it “Preserves”…

To me there is a definite diference between the two….but, when I see on the grocery store shelves… in America….the lable Preserves ….they are jams that have pieces of fruit in them.

In Ausria……preserves are whole pruit  preserved in jars with a ….I call it  “Sugar Water”…. The fruit is cooked and placed whole in jars topped with the boiiling sugar water…. At the same time…Jams in America can come in two ways….. one cooks the chopped fruit …then strained all the pieces of fuit out of the cooked product…so that the “Jam” is completely clear. …and it solidifies the same way as the Jam that I make…due to the pectin in the fruit and the pectin that is added to the fruit when it cooks.  I do know that sometimes the “clear” jam is called “Jelly”….To me all this is most confusing…I guess the “JellY” is the one that confuses me the most!!!

How ever, I cook my “Jam” and bottle it…and call it JAM…so far I have not had anyone who corrected me, on the contrary….my friends all love my “Jams!”

Here are som pictures of how I copok and “dress up” my Jams…so they can be given away as little presents…..Hostess Gifts, Holiday Gifts, and they can also bring a little cheer to someone in a reirement home….or left on a table  of a riend’s porch!  

This is one of my most favorite times in my kitchen!!!!****

Cherries when is season…are one of the most favorite “fruit” cakes in Austria…and actually in Europe!!!  A basic dough …that consists of ..Flour, sugar, butter and eggs…with a little baking powder…to help with the rising of the dough while baking… is so simple that one can use a pre-mix “cake mix” right off the grocery shelf…. Just add a cup of flour to the mix making the dough a little heavier for the furit’s juices to be better absorbed….As I have often mentioned in previous blogs…I like to use Duncan Heinz Butter mix in many of my cakes…Because…the cake is NOTt that important…it is the filling and fruit or what ever you have to “sandwich” between the layers that actually defines your cake and creation.

Fresh fruit is used in cakes throughout Europe during the summer and fall months.   Therefore, it is so easy to make and create a “signiature” pastry as the fruit is available… Sundays are enjoyed while families gather around the table either for a big meal, but, often for an afternoon with coffe and a freshly baked cake…while catching up with grandchildren, neighbors or out-of town freinds.

Here is a Cherry Cake baked in two different ways.: One is a “one-layer”  and the other is baked in two separate pans…then stacked to make a layered “torte”…so to speak…


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Maja’s Viennese Kitchen….





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It is that time of year again when I spend time in my kitchen cooking jams.  While I wash, peal, measure, slow cook various fruit starting in Spring through Fall…I remember my grandmother’s kitchen in Veliskovci, Croatia…. She had young girls come from the vallage who helped with the process of picking the fruit in the orchard, bringing them into the kitchen, washing and preparing them for the big pots she had on the stove to cook the jams and preserves. Mind you….all that on a wood burning stove. Omama…as I called her…always had a spotless kitchen.  It was scrubbed and washed every day…even the wooden floor was scrubbed with brushes.

I was a little girl then …about 5 or 6 years old…and I remember seeing the maids   on the floor with their big skirts billowing around them.. moving like huge birds on their knees. .I was told not to come into the kitchen while the floor was being cleaned because they used lie diluted in water to bleach the wooden floor….

How times have changed?!  In today’s world I do not have to pick the fruit from the trees…I simpy buy them in the grocery store, farmer’s market or from an orchard already picked.

At this time I have made Blueberry, Strawberry, Cherry and Apricot jams… available in Maja’s Viennese Kitchen. ….   maria@majaskitchen.com …..