During any Season of the year…..

I look for flowers, to decorate my home!

Any Season of the year it is a pure delight to make arrangemens in baskets, vases and different containers filled with water…placing the lovely blossoms ….one by one with some thought about color, size and length of the stem.  Most of these arrangements last about two weeks or longer while changing the water and clipping the bottoms of each stem…..until they hang their little heads and tell me that they have gone to sleep!

It is differen in the Fall….Most of what we call Fall Flowers finish blooming at the very end of Summer, and then we are left with the breathtakingly beautiful colorful leaves on the bushes and trees, only to find when they are placed in a container with water to decorate our tables in our homes….the leaves soon drop off as quickly as the lightest breeze of our air conditioning/indoor wind blows over them…

This is the reason why I have succumbed to ….Silk Flowers…!!!

Here are some arrangments that I have done in the past…still at our big home…and here in the general open areas of the condominium where we now live!!! 

Have a Blessed Fall ..and enjoy the Season of

Colorful leaves where ever you go!!!


Maja’s Viennese Kitchen



Maria Reisz Springer

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The beautiful plum……….

and its irresistible juiciness is the fact that makes it the perfect fruit to make a wonderful jam

…..or dropping it into a dough and making it a perfect ending…

When the plums ripened in the late summer at my grandparent’s orchard in Croatia…life around the house became very busy. Every morning the maids had to go and pick up all the plums that had fallen off the tree and collected them in large buckets.   These were taken to a building on the property that the distill was kept.  Then my grandfather hired men from the village to set up the distill just outside the door of that building and the process of making Slivovic was started.  Slivovic is the brandy that comes from plums, and Sliva is the word for plum in Croatian.

I cannot describe the process of making Slivovic, which is a type of brandy, all I remember that I was watching the men sitting around this contraption (distill) talking and tasting the drops that came out of a spicket.  One afternoon I found all four of the  men snoozing in their chairs, when I gathered up the courage to taste the next drop that was gathering at the end of the spicket to drop into the container below.  I put my finger under the drop and when it fell on my finger I stuck my finger into my mouth and to my horror it was a most distasteful flavor I have ever tasted.  At this point one of the men woke up and I had just enough time to escape his reaching hand that was going to let me know that I was not to be where I was.

I was about 6 or 7 years old….

You see, my grandfather had an Inn which was a part of the big house and it was called Bela Villa.

And while the Sliovic was in the making, my grandmother was busy making a Plum Cake – Pita od Slive, but not only one, she usually made several cakes because they were sold as dessert at the Inn.

Here is my version of a Plum Cake that I translated from my mother’s recipe.

Plum Cake



3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

 zest of  1 to 2 lemons – depending on the size of the lemons

1 tsp Vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 cup milk


2 lbs of any kind of Plums


Set the oven at 350 F

Prepare an 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, by greasing and dusting it with flour.

Remove the stone in the plums by cutting it in half and slice each half into 2 quarters.

In an electric mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until very light in color, and very fluffy.  Add the eggs  one at a time.  Add the zest of the lemons and Vanilla.   Mix theflour with the baking powder.  Add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and eggs alternating with the milk.   Mix well until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Transfer the dough to the tart pan and smooth it with a spatula.

Add the cut plum sections on to the dough. 

Bake the cake at 350 F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick come out clean. 

Cool the cake completely then transfer it onto a serving platter.

Serve with softly whipped heavy cream sweetened with powdered sugar before serving.

Or just dust it with powdered sugar and serve it with Coffee or Tea!


Make this cake for a Sunday Afternoon Coffee….

with friends and family….

I am sure it will be a great success….!


Maja’s Viennese Kitchen

Maria Reisz Springer




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A few days ago I had a baking day in my kitchen…..I bake the Communion Bread for our church….For years I struggled with the Bread “crumbling” when broken into little pieces….

Then…one morning I woke up and remembered a class at the ” LaAccademi de Cuisine”a Cooking School in Bethesda, Maryland….we baked a Savarin/Brioche…on one of the days…having spent a whole week there….

I found my recipe …finally….because it is a challenge in itself…since I have hundreds of recipes in numerable binders….that I either created for my cooking classes or saved having attened classes at other Cooking Schools….

Well ….it was a succesful day….the Savrin/Brioche…turned out perfectly….and had NO crumbs when cooled to room temp….and broken into little peices…!!!!!!


Here is the recipe…..


1 pkg  set Yeast +1 tspsugar +1/4 cup warm milk ..

Mix it with a spoon and let it sit until it bubbles up and it is “proofed!

Now …add the following into the mixing bowl….of an electric mixer

3 cups flouer + 1/4 cup more flour …if needed

1/3 cup sugar

dash of salt

4 Jumbo eggs…at room temperature

11/2 cup of warm milk

1 cup of butter softened to room temperature…but still cool to the touch…

Mix all the ingredients …except the butter….slowly into a dough…

When the dough is smooth and well mixed…ad the cool butter slowly to the dough and mix well…

Make sure the butter is well incorporated….

Set tje dough into an ungreased bowl, coverit with plastic wrap, and let it double in size….

about two hours or so…..

Stir down the dogh and let it rise a seond time in the refrigerator …2 to 24 hours…

Now fill baking pans…any size and  any  shape you like….or form little or big loafs…and let them all rise until it NOT quite doubles in size.

Bake the bread at 400 F until browned; or it reaches 190-200 F..tested with a thermometer

If baked in large molds…turn down the heat toward the end of baking.

Remove from baking pan and let it cool…..on a rack!



Maja’s Viennese Kitchen


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Maria Reisz Springer



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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Maja’s Viennese Kitchen




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


Maja's cakes



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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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