Posts Tagged ‘cream’

Chocolate Decadence

Blondies and Chaocolate Musse Torte 035

It was a weekend with family and a birthday to be celebrated.   The birthday person has a very special place in my heart, she is the mother of my beautiful grandchildren.  When I asked her what kind of cake she would like me to bake for her she immediately answered a “Chocolate Cake” of course.   It seems chocolate is her primary food in life…maybe chocolate is the cause of her beauty.

I immediately thought of a Sacher Torte, but when we chatted about what kind of a chocolate cake that she wanted she told me that it had to be all chocolate, no jams, no nuts, no combinations of creams simply a chocolate cake with a chocolate icing.

Well, I am known not to make simple cakes, there has be to something about a cake that makes it special and better than what I had done in the past.  The Sacher Torte as a base was still what I thought would please her, and the chocolate ganache  was certainly special and I knew she would like it, however, there had to be something else that would make this birthday cake even more special.

I started looking through my chocolate pastry cookbooks, and while I was turning the pages my thoughts and imagination clouded while reading between the lines of the recipes.  I was just about to give up when I came upon a chocolate mousse.  Yes, why not a chocolate mousse filling and piling the same mousse all over the cake. It certainly would make it a very special cake and worthy of celebrating a special person and her birthday.

Chocolate Mousse Birthday Cake


Sacher Torte – ala Maja’s Viennese Kitchen

            3/4 cup butter – softened

                1 1/2 cup sugar

                3 eggs (large)

                1 1/2 cups flour

                1/4 cup cocoa

                1/2  tsp baking soda

                1 /2 cup sour cream

                1/2 cup boiling water

                1 tsp Vanilla

                1 tsp Almond Extract – optional


                Cream butter and sugar until very fluffy

                Add egg yolks – one at a time – beat between each until well incorporated

                Add Vanilla Extract

                Combine flour, baking soda and cocoa, sift then add to the eggs

                and butter mixture

                Alternating, between flour and sour cream

                Now add the very hot water – slowly – keep mixing until well mixed

                Bake in 2 –  10 inch cake pans lined with parchment paper

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                Grease and dust the sides of the pans with flour.

                Bake at 325 F for about 25 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven)

               Or, until cake tester comes out clean

Note:….If  my time is limited I reach for a “Duncan Hines” Devil’s Food cake mix…..it is a great alternative….and I have never been disappointed.

Simple Chocolate Mousse

Use Fabulous dark chocolate…I use 2 bars…..

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Lindt “Excellence” Supreme Dark Chocolate ( 90 % Cacao 3.5 oz, 100g)

Ghirardelli  Intense Dark, Midnight Reverie  (86% Cacao 3.17 oz, 90g)

3 cups heavy cream – whipped

½ cup powdered sugar

2 tsp Vanilla


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Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth.

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While the chocolate is melting, place the cream into a chilled bowl,  helping the cream to whip faster.  Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

Add the powdered sugar and mix just enough to blend thoroughly.

Add half of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate, and mix well until combined.

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Then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until mixture is smooth and well blended.

Chill the mousse for about 30 minutes to an hour…then fill and ice the cake.

Note!  I piled the mousse about 2 inches high on to the first  cake layer

then refrigerated it for about 30 minutes.  This helped to hold the mousse in place when I placed the  second cake layer on top of it.

Once the filling was between the two cake layers I iced the cake and piled the rest of the mousse onto the top, and decorated it.  I used a pastry bag and a star tip to fill the top.

To give the cake a special touch…I went to my garden and wondered what I could use to make the cake special.  I have a huge bush of Russian Sage and it is in full bloom.  There is also  Marjoram with it’s delicate pink blossoms.  The pink blossoms would go well with the dark chocolate, but I felt that the aroma of Marjoram would not compliment the chocolate…I went back to the Sage and looked at it for a while, picking off the leaves, smashing them in my hand and smelling the potent sage fragrance.  Yes, Sage would go well with chocolate the two aromas are strong  yet  they would not clash.  They would compliment each other. When I finished decorating around the cake I inhaled the two aromas with delight.

 Here is today’s creation!

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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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Maria Reisz Springer

Maja’s Kitchen LLC

Maja’s Kitchen LLC



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Pumpkin Soup made with

Acorn Squash and Curry!

Not having gown up with pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie or  pumpkin bread,  I have never developed a liking for “traditional” pumpkin foods.

You see, when I was seven years old we lived for a short while with my grandparents in Croatia.   My grandfather was a butcher and had a business to raise pigs then  selling the meat to restaurants in the surrounding cities.  I remember walking with the maids to the pig sty where they  fed the  pigs  cooked pumpkin and potato slop.  I distinctly remember the smell  wafting from those buckets – it had a similar aroma to  pumpkin pie, without the enhancement of spices. I never have learned to disassociate that particular aroma from my childhood experience.

However, as an adult  I have developed a curiosity about International foods and have enjoyed flavors that are exciting, such as Indian cuisine.  In my library of cookbooks I have many nationalities represented from which I have cooked many times, in particular, the Indian meals  are  very pleasing.

Curried Acorn Squash Soup

1 Acorn Squash or any other pumpkin that you might like

3 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp of oil

1 onion sliced

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 to 4   slices of  orange peel

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

1 Tbsp Curry powder – more or less as you like

4 cups of chicken broth

1  Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 heaping tsp of a commercial chicken base

(I use McCormick’s Chicken Base)

(1 heaping tsp of chicken base + 1/4 cup warm water)

1 to 2 cups heavy cream ….

about 2 drops of Coconut Flavoring

1 Tbsp of cornstarch – if needed (1 Tbsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp water)

1 Tbsp sugar or more

white pepper to taste

Cut whatever pumpkin you use into halves, wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them at 400 F for about 1 hour. When cool enough scrape the baked flesh out of the rind  and place it into a separate bowl.

Use a medium size soup pot, add the butter and oil, then add the garlic, the sliced onion, orange slices, bay leaves, fresh ginger and heat on medium.  Sautee all the above ingredients to be slightly caramelized.

At the end add the curry powder, cook for another few seconds to bring out the oils from all the spices and be overwhelmed with all the aromas that come out of your soup pot.

Now add the baked squash and add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Lower the heat  and simmer it for about 20 to 30 minutes giving it a stir a few times.

Remove the orange peel and the bay leaf with a slotted spoon.  Insert an electric hand blender  bring it to a smooth consistency.

Add the diluted chicken base, the 1 Tbsp of sugar, as well as the  liquid cornstarch and  cook the soup until it thickens.

Adding the cream will give the soup not only a lovely color but a mellow flavor.  At this point the soup needs to be salted to the flavor you like and at the same time add a little  at a time of the lemon juice.    Adding  the Coconut Flavoring will  give the soup that special touch

Once you have cooked this soup  I am quite sure you will not stop with just one  spoon full….


Copyright: Maria Reisz Springer……..

Maja’s Kitchen LLC….





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!

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A Mushroom Story!

I have a wonderful recipe, simple and really delicious, that I want to share with all of you!  But, before I get into the recipe, I need to tell you how I tasted a mushroom for the first time in my life.

We were living in a Refugee Camp in Kapfenberg, Steiermark in Austria.  All the refugees were fed by the camp’s kitchen.  Every day at noon we all lined up at the door of the kitchen with our little pot to be served one ladle full of some kind of soup and a piece of bread.   The children were given a table spoon of cod liver oil which we had to swallow before we received the soup. I absolutely hated the cod liver oil!  Its fishy smell and flavor spoiled my taste for fish for life!  To this day fish is not one of my favorite foods. But, I digress…

My father was a genius when it came to find our friends where ever they were during that time of upheaval in Europe.  He found friends from our village in Croatia living an hour’s train ride away from Kapfenberg.  They lived in a small town called Wildon in an abandoned castle.  There were several families who settled there.  In order to survive they quickly started a vegetable garden and every spring and all through the summer and fall, they had more vegetables than they could eat.  They invited us to come and visit them often.  We went on weekends to see them and always brought back bags full of vegetables that my mother cooked and used to supplement the meals we received from the camp’s kitchen.  On one of these days visiting our friends we experienced a huge storm.

I was playing with all the other children in the castle’s park.  We were running around on this hot and humid summer afternoon.  Suddenly the storm broke loose, there was thunder and lightning, the rain started pouring and drenched us to the bone.  We did not care about being wet; it was fun running around in the rain. While we were all screaming with delight a fog lifted from the ground and made us all look like fairies dancing on clouds.

Then the most magical thing happened!

I looked and saw little white buttons popping out of the ground around us, they were everywhere!   It was the most magical experience; I gathered up a few of these white little wonders while we heard our mothers calling to come inside.

When we all piled into the kitchen one of the mothers asked me to give her the mushrooms; she called them “Champignon.”  There was a very large wood burning stove in the kitchen and it was hot and had a pot of something cooking on it.  She took one of the Champignon and cut it in half and placed it directly onto the hot stove.  Immediately the earthy aroma of the mushroom permeated the kitchen. She turned it over to cook the other side and when it was slightly browned she salted it, blew on it to cool it, and gave  me half to taste.  I remember not liking it at first, however I liked the salt on it. Chewing it was another new experience since it was soft, yet rubbery.   I was not quite sure what to make of it and did not accept another piece.
Later in life I learned to like mushrooms and now I enjoy them in all kinds of ways.  My favorite however is a “creamed mushroom soup” and this is what I am going to share with you today.

Creamed Mushroom Soup

32 oz fresh assorted mushrooms or about 12 cups of chopped mushrooms

6 cups chicken or beef stock preferably home made

2 tsp bouillon granules

1 tsp or more dry mushroom powder*

7 Tbsp cornstarch1/2 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

Use a mixture of different mushrooms for better flavor. To clean the mushrooms brush    them with a vegetable brush or a damp paper towel.

To coarsely chop the mushrooms I process them in a food processor with quick, short on/off turns.

Transfer the chopped mushrooms into a large soup pot and add the home-made chicken or beef stock. Heat the mixture to boil and cook the soup for about 30 minutes while stirring occasionally.

*Make your own mushroom powder by processing dried Shiitake mushrooms in a food mill. This mushroom powder keeps well in a glass jar in my refrigerator, and I use it with several meat sauces.

Add 1 tsp of the mushroom powder or more if desired to the soup and flavor it with the chicken bullion granules. Mix the starch in the cold whole milk and add it slowly to the boiling soup, by stirring the soup continuously.  The starch is cooked when the soup takes on a shiny sheen. When tasting the soup you should not feel the graininess of the starch in your mouth, and the soup will be quite thick.   Remove the soup from the heat and add the two cups of heavy cream.  Gently mix the cream into it and you are ready to serve a lovely soup to your  family or guests.


Copyright: Maria Reisz Springer……..

Maja’s 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

Find me on Face Book!

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