Posts Tagged ‘pastries’

Our Dream Home!


2013-05-20 16.16.30

It was 1981 when we moved from California to Baltimore….with a four year old little son…We looked for a home to buy in April and May of that year…only not liking  anything we saw on the market…. On the day before we went back to California to await the movers who would pack us up and move our stuff to Baltimore…we took one more drive with the realtor hoping to find our dream home. Since we could not decide on any of the houses he showed us that day, he finally said: “There is a house that I know the owner wants to sell, would you like me to call him and see if he is serious?” We nodded our heads and he placed the call and the seller said that we could come by and see it.
When we walked into the front door…I knew this was the home I wanted! I felt immediately comfortable in it and loved the large rooms and the floor plan.

It was our dream home!

2013-05-20 16.23.31

We spent thirty-three years in this house. First we moved walls, painted, re-did rooms, designed a new all white kitchen, bought furniture together with an interior decorator, and made the home …”OURS!”
I felt that we could let our lives and dreams come through and share it with people who we hoped would become friends, let our son grow and develop into the person we envisioned him to become. We had the perfect home for all this to happen through the years!
And it did!


We entertained international friends and guests through McCormick Company where my husband had a position in the International Division, and, I started a cooking school in my beautiful new kitchen.

Smith Island Kitchen 060

Our son was able to have friends who came and played in the woods that surrounded our home, building forts and bridges over a small brook that ran through the Watershed. He learned about all kinds of little animals that had their home in the trees or in little caves underground, birds that fed off a feeder in the middle of the back yard, and, a little birdhouse on a wall near the kitchen window.

Tutle KirschenKuchen 020

We could watch birds in the spring nesting, feeding and teaching their off springs to fly….We watched snakes that wound around branches on trees and some that lived under our back steps. Foxes patrolled the yard for food, hedgehogs that ate our freshly grown lettuce for lunch before we could pick it to have it for dinner. One year we planted potatoes and did not think that they needed soil that was free of rocks and pebbles, therefore, they came up all gnarled and had funny shapes…but, we ate them anyway. When he was fourteen his father taught him to drive the big lawnmower and keeping the lawn mowed became his weekly job for which his allowance increased.

2 Valentines snow 024

In the winter we fed the birds on our deck wall, but, not only birds ate there, they shared their crumbs and seeds with squirrels, foxes and, at night with raccoons and one evening we saw a possum visiting the feeding area.
It was a wonderful house to do anything in and kept us busy throughout the thirty-three years…

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen/Maja’s Kitchen LLC!

My Home Cooking School kept me busy throughout the years.  I taught thirty classes a year and ended the year with Gingerbread House Decorating Sessions in December.  It all started when our son was about 5 years old when I invited his friends for an afternoon to decorate gingerbread houses.   It continued on until it became a part of Maja’s Kitchen.  I would have up to 100 children and adults come to these weekends of Gingerbread House Decorating Afternoons every year.

Sam's Birthday 154


  Sam's Birthday 128

 Sam's Birthday 140

When the decorating of the gingerbread houses ended I invited the children and their adult companions to attend a Candlelight Christmas Tea in our basement.

GH 2101 085

There they experienced and enjoyed a buffet table ablaze with candles and lots of little sandwiches, pastries, fruit and I never forgot the “pigs in the blanket.” Hot chocolate was served to the children and the adults had tea.  All was served in china cups with saucers and dessert plates.  The children were wonderfully behaved and acted properly.  Everyone relaxed and chatted and had a good time.   I loved these afternoons in December, because for me too, Christmas was approaching and we all felt it as the Christmas music kept us all in a festive mood…

When “Tea” was over they picked up their houses upstairs in the kitchen, parents took photographs around the Christmas Tree in the foyer…and with a shout of “Merry Christmas” left with smiles and glowing faces holding tight their decorated little Gingerbread House.


Cooking Classes at Maja’s Kitchen!

Cooking and baking is truly my passion, I will never tire doing it!

I loved teaching and getting to know the ladies who came to my classes, and yes, there was an occasional man who joined us.  Actually men could not come to my classes because my classes were held in the morning, from 9am to 1pm on Tuesday and Thursdays.   But I did some private cooking classes with men when they scheduled it on a Saturday morning. It all was great fun for me!

I loved learning about having a business. My husband was very good in getting me thinking of it as a business and not just having fun.  His help and encouragement helped me to make this a successful business.  I learned to handle the income and expenses, networking, writing recipes, printing them and having them ready for my students when they arrived in the kitchen.  The night before I set up my kitchen for classes and prepped the ingredients for the recipes.   During the class we learned to cook, plate the meals, decorate tables, learned about each other and become friends.

Paso Robles Cooks Loft

To keep up with teaching I attended many cooking classes at different schools, like the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY, the Lavaren Cooking School at the Green Brier, the La Accademie de Cuisine in Bethesda, and many classes that were held around Baltimore through the years. I also joined the International Association of Culinary Professionals where I am still a member.  The yearly IACP meetings have helped me to become a better teacher, and, where I found great support from more experienced culinary professionals.

Leaves cooking class 001

We have recently moved from our “Dream Home” to a condominium not very far away from the “old’ house.   We have installed a new kitchen and I have already started to continue Maja’s Kitchen in my new kitchen and condominium/home.

My pastry business is thriving !

Here are some of my recent creations

made in my “New Condo Kitchen!”

 Yvonne Bridalshower cake 010 Truffles 003

Day5 TUMC VBS 077 014


The First Cooking Class in the new kitchen!

Cooking with Maria 029  Cooking with Maria 034


Cooking with Maria 018Cooking with Maria 024



Maja’s Kitchen….



Maja/Maria Reisz Springer


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



I very much appreciate your little visits with comments

to continue our friendship!


Read Full Post »

Kaese Sahne Torte

An Austrian Cheese and Cream Cake    

It was a few years ago when I last spent some time in Vienna with my family.  The week there was filled  with Concerts, Operettas, Operas and  Plays…….it was the Musik Woche in Vienna……..

While there a childhood friend had telephoned and asked to meet him and his family in the Wiener Wald Kaffee for an afternoon of reminiscing and catching up.

It was a time of nostalgia – as we remembered our youth and at the same time we exchanged stories of our happy times with our spouses and children…..life had gone on…..to be better and more fulfilling.

We did all that over coffee and pastry…….the kind of pastry that one can only find in Vienna.

When the pastry cart arrived my eyes simply overflowed with delight and my heart beat a little faster.  I simply could not make a choice from the selection that I saw in front of me.  I really wanted a bite of every one of the most beautiful pastries I had ever seen.  My friend suggested the Kaese Sahne Torte. It was a huge slice and I knew that I could never finish it – even with the help of the cup of coffee.

The first bite was heaven! I closed my eyes, and just sat with my mouth full of this most delicious cream that melted in my mouth…slowly, making me taste every drop of whipped cream, smooth cheese, vibrant vanilla, lemony lemon juice and, every crystal of sugar.  It took me a while to swallow all this goodness.  As I relished this  most profound experience, I found myself taking one bite after another and soon finished the  slice that I thought was too much and too huge…. before  I realized I had eaten it all……

I was totally in love with this pastry!

Next morning I spent several hours on the Ring Strasse visiting every book store that was there, in search of a cookbook that contained the recipe of this most incredible dessert.  By the time I found a pastry cookbook that had the description and ingredients listed for a Kaese Sahne Torte……my hands were shaking and I hardly could pay for my treasure.

Every evening on our trip I was studying this beautiful cookbook and could not wait to get home to start translating it from German into English.  But, not only the language had to be translated also the measurements of the ingredients.  It took me many trials……but, now I have this most incredible pastry recipe in my files…..executed in an American Kitchen.

My husband and son claim the Kaese Sahne Torte to be their most favorite pasty of all the other recipes that I have translated from Austrian cookbooks.

Today I am going to share this most incredible cake with you!

It is not difficult, but you have to be organized and follow my directions explicitly.  I am going to write the procedure as if I were to teach it in my cooking class which is different than most recipes are written in today’s blogs or cook books  because, there are certain points in the recipe that are very critical in attaining the results that you have to have at the end.   And, I so want you all to be able to make this special dessert.

 Here we go!

Making  the  Cake layers

As you can see from the picture there is a 2 to 3 inches filling between two cake layers.

Prepare a 10 inch Spring Form baking pan:  have a 10 inch round parchment paper to cover the bottom of the spring form…this is to avoid the cake to stick to the bottom of the pan….I have greased and dusted the pan originally, but found that it would stick more often than not…therefore, I now use the parchment paper to avoid this problem….Do NOT use wax paper…unless you are used to working with it…I prefer parchment paper.. I do grease and dust the sides of the spring form however.

¾  cup (1 ½  sticks) unsalted butter – at room temperature

¾  cup sugar

2 tsp Vanilla

2 eggs – at room temperature –  Extra Large

¾  cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 1 lemon

I use a Stand-up Electric Mixer –  add the butter and the sugar and beat them until very light in color.

Add  the  eggs one at a time – and incorporate the eggs until the whole mass is light and fluffy.

Add the 2 tsp Vanilla and mix well.

Add the  flour and  baking powder,  they do not have to be mixed and sifted – just add them into the batter and incorporate them well.

Pour the batter into the prepared spring form and bake it in a preheated oven…set at 350 F.  Depending on your oven…it will have a light brown color in about 20 to 30 minutes…or it is baked when tested with  a toothpick .

Remove the cake from the oven and let it  cool on a rack.   This part of the Sahne Torte can be prepared a day in advance and kept at room temperature covered with a tea towel.

When cooled – take the cake out of the Spring form and cut the cake horizontally  in half ….you need one halve for the bottom and another for the top….

Prepare the mold for the cake and filling

Take a cake platter or a cardboard…if a cardboard is used cover it with foil..

Take the 10 inch spring form, ring only, and grease it with butter or Crisco and place it onto the cake platter;  line it with wax paper strips.  The wax paper needs to be cut wider than the spring form ring so that it is about 1 inch  higher than the ring itself.

When lining the ring overlap the wax paper to cover the whole interior surface of the ring.

Making the Filling

The most important part of the cake!

2 pkg Knox Gelatin

Into a small bowl add 6 Tbsp water and add the gelatin- let it bloom for 5 minutes or more

Zest of 2 lemons

6 Tbsp lemon juice – about 2 lemons…use fresh lemons only…do not use bottles juices

2 cups low fat cottage cheese no salt added – at room temperature

2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese – at room temperature –  the 1% fat cream cheese can be used

1/3   cup  sugar

2 eggs whites – Extra Large…..throw away the egg yolks,  or keep them for another use

The egg whites need to be at room temperature

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups heavy cream – need to be very cold, straight from the refrigerator, the colder the cream the quicker it will thicken.


Dissolve gelatin on low heat or  (or, microwave 2 times for 10 seconds) set aside to cool.  Softened gelatin needs to stay warm or it will congeal again.

In a food processor cream the cottage cheese and cream cheese making sure that the mass is very, very smooth…there absolutely cannot be any lumps.  The processing might take about 10 minutes  or more.

Add the lemon juice ….and  zest

Add 1/3 cup of sugar

Add  “bloomed” still warm gelatin

Add 2 tsp Vanilla

Process to mix……until very, very smooth

Transfer to a big mixing bowl and set aside

Beat egg whites and 1/3 cup of sugar until soft peaks form and set aside. When the egg whites are half way whipped the sugar needs to be added slowly…..one spoon at a time and beating after every addition of sugar…the crystals of the sugar need to be dissolved between  every addition.

Whip heavy cream  until it forms soft peaks…this is very important…do NOT beat cream until it has a yellow hue….also, add the 1/2 cup confectioner sugar slowly when the cream is  half way whipped and continue until  soft peaks form.  When cream is whipped  and shows a pale yellow hue…it is one step before it is butter, it is better to under whip it.

Add Vanilla Extract

If the  confectioner sugar is slightly damp and is lumpy…sift it to eliminate lumps then add it to the cream slowly while  slowing down the speed of the mixer.

Mix gently – there cannot be any lumps in this filling.

I am going to repeat – how to mix the three masses together.

Use a whisk with the least amount of wires that you have in your kitchen. I found that a densely wired whisk does not work…since this is a very light mixture and you are mixing not whisking ….the gelatin holds it together at the end after it is refrigerated.

You have the cheese mixture from the processor already in a large mixing bowl.  To that add the meringue while mixing small portions at a time with a whisk until the mass is very smooth.

This is very important…the meringue has to be mixed into the cheese mixture FIRST. If you mix the cold whipped cream first you will have big lumps in your mixture.  The cold whipped cream congeals the gelatin in the cheese mixture instantly and creates the lumps, therefore, make sure that the whipped cream is added last.

Now add the whipped cream which is cold…take a small amount and mix it rapidly into the cheese/meringue mixture…keep adding the cold cream..mixing quickly…do not worry about mixing slowly like you incorporate it in other recipes…this is different…

If you follow my method you will prevent having lumps in your Sahne Torte.

Pour all the cheese filling into the prepared spring form, it will fill it to the top or a little higher than the rim of the ring, then place the second half of the cake on top.  I use a tart pan bottom to transport the cake layer to prevent breaking it. If you have some of the filling left over, fill small bowls or glasses for a treat before your guests arrive.

Refrigerate the cake at least for four hours or overnight before serving.

To un-mold the refrigerated cake….

Release the spring form ring from the cake…wiggle the ring a little to loosen it around the cake and lift it away from the cake.  Peel off the wax paper around the cake, sprinkle it with powdered sugar and it is ready to be served.  You can decorate it with some piped whipped cream and fruit or use some fresh flowers….make sure they are not poisonous.  Check with Google for edible flowers.

To make it even more special you can mix some Plum Jam or any jam with a little Kirschwasser and spoon it over each slice before serving….or have a bowl of the jam mixture at the table and let the guests serve themselves.

The Plum Jam is mixed with a little Kirschwasser just enough to thin the jam and making it more like a sauce…


If you have any questions or comments…

I will be happy to answer all of them!

And do let me know if you like the Kaese Sahne Torte!


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! LinkedIn and Pinterest!

Maria Springer's photo



Read Full Post »