{Streusel Rhubarb Cake} – Tort cu rubarba

rhubarb cake

I’m not a huge Reddit fan, but it happened that I read the other day a thread about how some food bloggers focus on photography and post recipes that rarely succeed, how they make every recipe sound like it’s the best when in fact it may not be, how they make it look more like a business and less like something personal. The thread had dozens of comment from people stating the same thing and pointing towards quite famous bloggers out there whose photography and work I admired many times. I had mixed feelings reading this – on one side there’s the blogger community which I enjoy being part of and can totally relate to the work behind a blog and on the other side there’s the reader that tries the recipe, the reader that we care so much or should care about, the people we interact with who feel betrayed when a recipe fails.

I understand both parties and believe me, being a blogger is not the easy thing many people think, it’s not as fun as you might expect sometimes, making your recipes stand out is hard and oh boy, when you meet insensitive people, the Internet can be cruel. But this doesn’t mean we should post just anything and expect to form a community around a blog even though the recipes aren’t as good as we make them look in our photography. Yes, photography can be deceiving, I know it well, there’s plenty of tricks out there to make food look great so I believe this is why people feel betrayed when a recipe fails. They have high expectations, they want it to look like in the pictures, without being aware that a recipe’s success depends on many things and sometimes differently sourced ingredients can change the final result. But I still trust bloggers more than I trust recipe sites to source my recipes from. It’s probably that feeling of familiar I get when I read the stories, might be the preparation pictures you get to see sometimes, but I love reading blogs and sometimes comparing one recipe with another.

But I can totally relate to the person who had recipe failures from various bloggers, I’ve been there myself and it does bother me when I see someone saying it is the best recipe in the world – if you read more blogs you will probably find a similar recipe being presented as the best in the world and so on. It has to do with the way bloggers describe their recipe so people build these high expectations and if it doesn’t turn out according to that, they feel disappointed.

This thread also led to another thing I have been thinking about – how important is the story in a blog post compared to the recipe itself?! I’m a journalist so words are my friends, especially in writing, but I have to admit that sometimes writing more than the recipe itself is a struggle and I feel bad to just say how good the recipe is. I know it is, I don’t post recipes if I’m not happy with them, but writing entire paragraphs about how good it is and how amazing it tastes is just not my cup of tea. I tried it, it doesn’t feel like me, it feels like I’m trying to sell my recipes to you, my readers, when in fact I’m not. I want you to try the recipes I post, obviously, but only if you think you might like them, not because I say so many times in a paragraph and use all these pretty words to build a story around a recipe. But then I go to a different blog and I see this beautiful writing, studded with gorgeous words about the recipe and dessert that I feel bad I didn’t do the same … and this goes on forever. So I am curious, how important do you think the story is compared to the recipe? Do you read the stories that come with the recipes or just go to the recipe itself? Have you ever tried a recipe based on a blogger’s description?


 

rhubarb cake

Now let’s go back to today’s recipe which is a buttery, fragrant rhubarb cake with a crispy streusel topping. I’m not a huge fan of rhubarb, unless it comes in this classic combination with strawberries. So once the cake was baked, I made a simple strawberry compote and topped each serving of cake with it, plus a dollop of whipped mascarpone. Yes, simple mascarpone cream, whipped just to become airy. I find to be heavenly in this combination.. well, any combination, I’m a mascarpone addict!

{Streusel Rhubarb Cake} - Tort cu rubarba
 
Author:
Serves:: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 90g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 130g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 50g butter, melted and chilled
  • 250g rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Streusel topping:
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Strawberry compote:
  • 300g strawberries
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 40g sugar
  • 2 cardamom seeds, crushed
  • Mascarpone cream for serving
Directions:
Cake:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and lined a round cake pan (22cm) with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour with salt.
  3. Combine the eggs with sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 10 minutes until triple in volume.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract then begin folding in the flour, spoon after spoon, mixing with a spatula until the flour is incorporated.
  5. Take 4 tablespoons of batter into a small bowl and stir in the melted butter. This is done because the butter (and other type of fat for that matter) tends to sink at the bottom of the bowl, forcing you to mix into the batter vigurously, thus destroying the air bubbles you effortesly incorporated in the eggs earlier. But if you do it in a small batch of dough first, the final batter won't be damaged at all.
  6. Transfer the butter mixture back into the bowl and carefully fold it in.
  7. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and place aside.
  8. Mix the rhubarb with cornstarch and sugar and top the cake with slices of rhubarb.
Streusel topping:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until sandy.
  2. Spread the streusel over the rhubarb and bake the cake in the preheated oven at 350F for 35-40 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven when done and let it cool completely.
Strawberry compote:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over low heat and cook for a few minutes just until the fruits are softened, but not mushy.
  3. Allow it to cool completely.
  4. Serve the cake topped with mascarpone cream and strawberry compote.

ROMANIAN

Rubarba e o noutate pentru mine, am descoperit-o anul trecut multumita Lidl, caci nu prea e de gasit prin partile astea de Romanie si imi place tare in combinatie cu capsunele. Motiv pentru care tortul a fost insotit de un compot foarte simplu de capsune aromat cu putin cardamom. Si un mot de mascarpone simplu, usor batut cat sa se aereze, desi merge si frisca bine batuta, e doar o chestie de gust personal. Mascarpone e noua mea slabiciune si ma furisez si in miezul noptii pentru o lingurita din branza asta cremoasa, onctuoasa, grasa. Dar recunosc ca ultima felie de tort am acoperit-o bine cu smantana acra (ramasesem fara mascarpone si nu aveam nici frisca) si a fost la fel de buna. E genul ala de comfort food din care nu te mai poti opri din mancat.

Ingrediente:

Blat:

  • 4 oua
  • 90g zahar
  • 130g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 50g unt gras, topit
  • 250g rubarba, felii
  • 1 lingura amidon
  • 2 linguri zahar brun

Topping crocant – streusel:

  • 50g unt la temperatura camerei
  • 100g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 2 linguri zahar pudra

Compot de capsune:

  • 300g capsune proaspete, taiate in jumatati
  • 1/2 cana suc proaspat de portocale
  • 40g zahar
  • 2 pastai de cardamom, usor zdrobite
  • Mascarpone sau frisca pentru servire

Mod de preparare:

Blat:

  1. Pre-incalziti cuptorul la 180C si tapetati o tava rotunda (22cm) cu hartie de copt.
  2. Amestecati rubarba cu amidonul si zaharul brun intr-un bol si dati deoparte.
  3. Mixati ouale cu zaharul si vanilia pana isi tripleaza volumul.
  4. Incorporati treptat faina cernuta cu un praf de sare. Luati deoparte cateva linguri de blat si amestecati cu untul topit. Turnati amestecul inapoi in bolul cu blat si amestecati usor cu o spatula.
  5. Turnati blatul in tava pregatita si acoperiti cu felii de rubarba.

Streusel:

  1. Amestecati toate ingredientele intr-un bol si faramitati bine cu varful degetelor pana obtineti o compozitie nisipoasa.
  2. Intindeti streusel-ul peste rubarba si coaceti tortul pentru 35-40 minute. Lasati sa se raceasca in tava.

Compot de capsune:

  1. Combinati toate ingredientele intr-un vas si fierbeti cateva minute pana fructele se inmoaie usor.
  2. Lasati sa se raceasca inainte de servire.

rhubarb cake

{Riviera Cake} – Chocolate Lemon Cake

chocolate lemon cake

Inspired by the master of modern patisserie, Pierre Herme, this chocolate lemon cake must be the best I have made in 2015, if not the best I have ever made. Needless to say that Pierre Herme fascinates me, he is the Picasso of modern pastry after all and his desserts need no introduction. So when the thought of making this cake was born in my mind, I felt like I had a goal to achieve. The Riviera Cake has layers of flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and a very special lemon curd to which I added a lemon infused ganache because I thought it would complement well the other layers and I believe I was right.

I have to admit I didn’t see chocolate and lemon as a combination I was eager to try before, but this cake proved me wrong. I love this mix, I love how the rich chocolate brings out the tanginess of the lemon and I love how the tangy curd tames down the bold chocolate. I love how they balance each other so well and redefine the definition of perfection in the world of desserts. Because this cake is perfect from start to finish – not to mention that it is also gluten-free. Just look at all those creamy layers – it’s pure perfection!

From the original recipe of Pierre herme I kept only the flourless chocolate cake and lemon cream and decided to change the chocolate mousse slightly and add an extra layer of chocolate because, well, you can never have enough chocolate, right?! So let’s begin!

{Riviera Cake} - Chocolate Lemon Cake
 
Author:
Serves:: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
Flourless chocolate cake:
  • 120g dark chocolate, chopped (70%cocoa content)
  • 85g butter, softened
  • 110g sugar, divided
  • 10g Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 pinch salt
Lemon cream:
  • 110g sugar
  • Zest and juice from 2 medium-size lemons
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 150g butter, softened
Chocolate mousse:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g sugar
  • 35ml water
  • 3g gelatin + 20ml cold water
  • 250g dark chocolate, melted (60% cocoa content)
  • 300ml heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon infused ganache:
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped (60% cocoa content)
  • 100ml heavy cream
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 30g butter
Directions:
Flourless chocolate cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 2 round cake pans (22cm) with baking paper.
  2. Mix the butter with half of the sugar and cocoa powder for a few minutes until creamy.
  3. Stir in the ehh yolks, one by one, then add the whole egg and mix well.
  4. Stir in the melted and cooled chocolate and place aside.
  5. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Gradually stir in the remaining sugar and continue whipping until stiff and glossy.
  6. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture then pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and well risen.
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
Lemon cream:
  1. Combine the sugar with lemon zest and rub them together until fragrant.
  2. Add the eggs and lemon juice and mix well then place the bowl over a hot water bath and continue cooking until the cream begins to thicken. (about 10 minutes, possibly more - mix all the time while cooking).
  3. Remove the bowl from heat and allow the cream to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the cream in the bowl of your mixer and turn the mixer on.
  5. Start adding the softened butter to the warm curd, mixing all the time until you run out of butter.
  6. Turn the mixer on high and whip for 2 minutes then place the cream in the fridge to set.
Chocolate mousse:
  1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water.
  2. Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup begins to thicken.
  3. Mix the egg yolks until creamy then gradually add the sugar syrup, mixing all the time until the egg yolks are double in volume and thick.
  4. Stir in the melted gelatin and vanilla extract then fold in the chocolate.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly then fold in the whipped cream.
Lemon infused ganache:
  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan and stir in the lemon zest.
  2. Remove from heat and let it infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve then bring the cream back to the boiling point.
  4. Add the chocolate into the heated cream and mix until melted.
  5. Stir in the butter and mix well.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Place one layer of flourless chocolate cake in a cake ring.
  2. Top with ⅓ of the chocolate mousse and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Spoon the lemon cream over the mousse and cover with the 2nd flourless chocolate sponge.
  4. Spoon the remaining chocolate mousse over the sponge and place back in the freezer.
  5. Top the mousse with lemon infused ganache and refrigerate the cake over night.
To decorate the cake I used 100g melted dark chocolate.

chocolate lemon cake


ROMANIAN

Ciocolata si lamaia nu sunt ingrediente care pot fi combinate usor – si recunosc ca eram una din acele persoane care nu agrea aceasta combinatie, dar banuiesc ca nu gustasem ce trebuie inainte. Ori acest tort mi-a dat peste cap toate asteptarile prin gustul sau divin. E genul de tort care e mai bun dupa o zi, doua, aromele sunt mai armonioase, gusturile sunt absolut perfecte dupa ce are timp sa “respire”.

Tortul are la baza o reteta a marelui Pierre Herme, maestrul cofetarie moderne, cel care chiar nu mai are nevoie de nicio introducere. Insa mi-am pus si eu amprenta asupra tortului modificand putin mousse-ul de ciocolata si adaugand in plus un strat de ganache infuzat cu lamaie pe care mi l-am imginat ca fiind liantul dintre ciocolata amaruie si crema de lamaie acrisoara.

Straturile tortului sunt: blat de ciocolata fara faina, crema de lamaie (care seamana cu un lemon curd, dar e mai aerat, aproape ca un mousse sau o crema mousseline), mousse de ciocolata, ganache si decor dupa preferinta.

Tort Riviera - cu lamaie si ciocolata
 
Author:
Ingredients:
Blat de ciocolata fara faina:
  • 120g ciocolata neagra, tocata (70% cacao)
  • 85g unt gras, temperatura camerei
  • 110g zahar, injumatatit
  • 10g cacao neagra
  • 2 gallbenusuri
  • 1 ou intreg
  • 6 albusuri
  • 1 praf de sare
Crema de lamaie:
  • 110g zahar
  • Coaja si sucul de la 2 lamai medii
  • 2 oua intregi
  • 150g unt gras, temperatura camerei
Mousse de ciocolata:
  • 4 galbenusuri
  • 70g zahar
  • 35ml apa
  • 3g gelatina + 20ml apa rece
  • 250g ciocolata neagra, topita (60g cacao)
  • 300ml frisca lichida, batuta
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
Ganache infuzat cu lamaie:
  • 100g ciocolata neagra, tocata (60% cacao)
  • 100ml frisca lichida
  • Coaja de la 1 lamaie
  • 30g unt
Directions:
Blat de ciocolata fara faina:
  1. Preincalziti cuptorul la 180C si tapetati 2 tavi de 22cm diametru cu hartie de copt.
  2. Mixati untul cu jumatate din zahar si cacao pana obtineti o crema pufoasa.
  3. Adaugati galbenusurile si oul, unul cate unul, si mixati bine, apoi incorporati ciocolata topita si racita. Dati deoparte.
  4. Mixati albusurile cu un praf de sare pana obtineti o spuma ferma. Adaugati zaharul treptat si mixati pana obtineti o bezea ferma si lucioasa.
  5. Incorporati bezeaua in amestecul de ciocolata si impartiti aluatul in mod egal intre cele 2 tavi pregatite.
  6. Coaceti pentru 20-25 minute apoi lasati sa se raceasca complet.
Crema de lamaie:
  1. Combinati zaharul si coaja de lamaie intr-un bol si amestecati-le cu degetelor pentru a elibera aroma cojii de lamaie.
  2. Adaugati sucul de lamaie si ouale si puneti bolul pe baie de aburi.
  3. Tineti pe baie de aburi, amestecand continuu, pana compozitia incepe sa se lege, sa se ingroase.
  4. Luati de pe foc si lasati sa se raceasca 10 minute apoi strecurati amestecul in alt bol si incepeti sa mixati cu un mixer electric in timp ce adaugati untul, lingura dupa lingura.
  5. Cand ati terminat de adaugat untul, mai mixati 2 minute la viteza mare si dati bolul la rece.
Mousse de ciocolata:
  1. Amestecati gelatina cu apa rece si dati deoparte.
  2. Amestecati zaharul si apa si puneti pe foc pana obtineti un sirop gros.
  3. Mixati galbenusurile putin pana devin cremoase si adaugati gradual siropul de zahar fierbinte, mixand continuu cateva minute pana obtineti o spuma.
  4. Incorporati gelatina topita, vanilia si ciocolata topita apoi lasati amestecul sa se racoreasca.
  5. La final, incorporati frisca.
Ganache infuzat cu lamaie:
  1. Infierbantati frisca si coaja de lamaie intr-un vas. Luati de pe foc si lasati sa infuzeze 10 minute.
  2. Scurgeti frisca bine si puneti inapoi pe foc, dar nu o dati in clocot.
  3. Adaugati ciocolata si amestecati bine pana obtineti o compozitie omogena.
  4. Incorporati untul si lasati ganache-ul sa se raceasca.
Pentru a asambla tortul:
  1. Montati unul dintre blaturi intr-un inel de tort. Acoperiti blatul cu o treime din mousse-ul de ciocolata si dati la congelator 15 minute.
  2. Puneti crema de lamaie peste mousse si acoperiti cu cel de-al doilea blat.
  3. Turnati restul de mousse peste blat si dati din nou la congelator.
  4. Ultimul strat e cel de ganache.
  5. Dati tortul la frigider peste noapte si decorati dupa bunul plac.

chocolate lemon cakeriviera cake

{Brownie Cake} – Tort cu ciocolata

brownie cake

A new chocolate recipe on pastry Workshop should never surprise you – it surprises me instead and I’m not kidding. What I mean is that this cake wasn’t planned at all, but I really wanted a chocolate dessert to cheer me up so I mixed this up quickly – funny thing is I didn’t get the chance to taste it as I ended up sending it to my cousin for his birthday. I heard he and his guests totally loved it and I couldn’t be happier I managed to make his day brighter.

The brownie base is rich and dense and literally loaded with chocolate. It really is an easy to make cake, but amazing in its simplicity. Once the brownie base is done, I simply topped it with a silky ganache, an airy vanilla whipped cream and plenty of fresh and fragrant strawberries. The chocolate drops were like the cherry on top and they only made the cake richer and more chocolatey. Sometimes less is more and I believe this cake proves the truth in that saying. It’s the perfect balance of richness and freshness, it’s the classic combination of chocolate and strawberries, everything brought to a whole new level with plenty of vanilla whipped cream.

{Brownie Cake}
 
Author:
Serves:: 6-8
Ingredients:
  • 175g dark chocolate, chopped (I)
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100g white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 60g walnuts/pistachio/almonds/peanuts (optional)
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped (II)
  • 80ml heavy cream (I)
  • 150ml heavy cream, whipped (II)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • Chocolate drops to decorate
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and lined a round cake pan (18cm) with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate (I) with butter until smooth (over a hot water bath or in the microwave).
  3. Stir in the sugar and eggs and give it a quick mix then add the flour and salt and stir again.
  4. Fold in the walnuts if you're using any then pour the batter in your round cake pan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes then allow the cake to cool completely.
  6. For the chocolate ganache, bring the heavy cream (I) to the boiling point and stir in the chocolate (II). Mix until smooth then let the glaze cool and set slightly.
  7. Top the cake wih chocolate ganache and decorate with whipped cream flavored with vanilla extract, strawberries and chocolate drops.
  8. Serve the cake chilled.

brownie cakeROMANIAN

Ca tot veni vorba de retete usoare, iata o reteta simpla, simpla, dar delicioasa. Din pacate nu am o sectiune cu tortul pentru ca a plecat in deplasare, dar am inteles ca a fost devorat, asa ca eu una ma declar fericita. Blatul e o negresa veritabila, densa, ciocolatoasa, delicioasa, iar toppingul e cat se poate de simplu – ganache, frisca vanilata si capsune din belsug. Mai simplu de atat nu se poate!

Ingrediente:

Blat:

  • 175g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100g zahar
  • 2 oua
  • 40g faina
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 60g alune/miez de nuca/fistic/migdale, tocate sau chiar fulgi de ciocolata (optional)

Topping:

  • 80g ciocolata neagra, tocata
  • 80ml frisca lichida
  • 150ml frisca lichida, batuta
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 2 cani capsune, feliate
  • Picaaturi de ciocolata

Mod de preparare:

Blat:

  1. Topiti untul cu ciocolata intr-un bol pe baie de aburi.
  2. Luati de pe foc si adaugati zaharul, ouale, faina si sarea. Mixati doar pana la incorporare apoi adaugati miezul de nuca daca folositi.
  3. Turnati blatul intr-o forma rotunda de tort cu diametrul de 18-20cm si coaceti in cuptorul preincalzit pentru 25-30 minute.
  4. Scoateti din cuptor si lasati sa se raceasca in tava apoi transferati pe un platou.

Topping:

  1. Faceti un ganache din 80g ciocolata neagra si 80ml frisca lichida (incalziti frisca intr-un vas pe foc mic apoi luati de pe foc si adaugati ciocolata. Amestecati pana se topeste complet).
  2. Lasati ganache-ul sa se raceasca la temperatura camerei apoi turnati-l peste blat.
  3. Aromati frisca cu vanilie si decorati tortul cu frisca, capsune si picaturi de ciocolata.

 

brownie cake

{Pumpkin Orange Cake} – Tort cu dovleac si portocala

pumpkin orange cake3

I know, I know, the time of the pumpkin is over, it’s spring now, not fall, but here’s the thing: my grandma has her own tiny (not that tiny actually) garden and she grows pumpkins every single year. So a few months ago she brought me this huge, literally huge pumpkin which I stored on my balcony during winter and kept delaying cutting into it just because pumpkins are so hard to peel. And for that reason my pumpkin survived through fall and winter, but with the warm weather we had at the beginning of March, I thought maybe it’s time to cut it and use it because it wasn’t going to last for long. So we peeled it and turned it into one awesome traditional Romanian pie and I saved a few slices for a cake, thinking to make something more special out of it.

And so this cake was born – this spiced, moist, delicious cake filled with an orange mascarpone cream and topped with a silky chocolate ganache. The recipe is simple, but what makes this cake stand out is the mix between the fluffy, spiced sponges and the smooth, rich mascarpone filling. The chocolate glaze is not compulsory, but it works well in this combination. You are welcomed to skip it if you want a lighter, more refreshing cake though.

The pumpkin can easily be replaced with sweet potato puree, I find them to be quite similar in terms of moisture and consistency so I think they can easily substitute each other in any recipe that relies on their puree for a delicate flavor and moisture. One thing I wouldn’t replace is the cinnamon and ginger. In fact, I would top these with even more aromas, such as ground star anise or cardamom.

{Pumpkin Orange Cake}
 
Author:
Serves:: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
Pumpkin Cake:
  • 300g white sugar
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 280g all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 350g pumpkin puree
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
Mascarpone Orange Frosting:
  • 200g mascarpone cream
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 150g heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest from one orange
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 60g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 60ml heavy cream
Directions:
Pumpkin Cake:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line 2 18-cm cake pans with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl.
  3. Mix the butter with sugar until creamy and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the eggs, one by one, then add the vanilla and mix well.
  5. Fold in the flour then add the pumpkin puree and slowly fold it in with a spatula. If you use walnuts (I didn't), now's the time to add them.
  6. Pour the batter into your pans and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cakes pass the toothpick test.
  7. Let the cakes cool in the pan completely.
Mascarpone Orange Frosting:
  1. Combine the mascarpone with vanilla and orange zest in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Cut each sponge in half to obtain 4 discs of sponge. Layer the sponge disca with 2-3 tablespoons of frosting.
Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Bring the cream to the boiling point in a saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
  3. Mix well until smooth and creamy then pour the glaze over the cake.
  4. Serve the cake chilled.

pumpkin orange cake

{Pistachio Rose Cake} – Tort cu fistic si trandafiri

pistachio rose cake

This pistachio rose cake brings a delicate Middle Eastern flavor to your table. Pistachio, rose water and a touch of cardamom are the main flavors of the sponge while the frosting, using mascarpone as a base, is rich, but at the same time delicate due to the addition of rose water and vanilla. Truth to be told, this cake was born after my brother kindly bought me a red rose for International Women’s Day. I was admiring the beautiful rose and thought to myself “wouldn’t it be such a shame to let this beautiful, delicate rose dry out in a vase?!”. Of course it would, was my immediate answer! So I thought that maybe a cake would showcase the delicate rose petals and the amazing rose aroma. My mum was joking: are you actually going to create a cake for a rose?! Well, obviously I was going to do it. And this is what I came up with: a pistachio sponge flavored with a tough of cardamom, a mascarpone rose water filling and plenty of chopped pistachio and fresh strawberries between the layers. The rose water is quite intense in flavor and a bit goes a long way, but that’s the beauty of it – with a teaspoon of rose water, your cake is infused with a whole new aroma. The top is decorated with crystallised rose petals, chopped pistachio and strawberries. I think it’s the rose petals that make this cake so beautiful – they are an excellent garnish for cakes and the process is very simple, so simple that it can be applied to other edible flowers as well. You can watch the process of making crystallised rose petals on my brand new Youtube channel – Pastry Workshop. Do Subscribe as I will be posting more short videos on how to make decorations and possibly recipes in the near future.

pistachio rose cake

Somehow, I have replaced chocolate with refreshing flavors lately. I’m a baker of the extremes sometimes – I might bake a chocolate cake today and a lemon cheesecake tomorrow. It depends on my mood, on where I get my inspiration from, on what ingredients I have on hand. And when all these things reach a common ground, a cake is born. Other times it all starts from an idea and then the ingredient hunt begins. Isn’t it amazing how creative cakes can be?! I love the process of designing a cake as much as I love baking it and I think the two of them go hand in hand, it’s what challenges me to be a better baker or pastry chef. Funny thing, I was reading an article the other day about creativity and it said that it has to be practiced in order to be better and better, just like any other domain and I have to admit that it’s true because looking back at my desserts, there’s so many things I would change now, so many things I would be doing differently now. My point with this is to encourage you to never give up on baking, even if you might not always make the best desserts – I don’t either, but those don’t make it to the blog – but practice makes it perfect so be consistent, creative, bake, bake and bake some more. It will eventually pay off and you’ll be making beautiful, delicious desserts in no time. Plus, it’s fun and although not calorie free, you can always share a cake with family and friends.

{Pistachio Rose Cake}
 
Author:
Serves:: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
Pistachio sponge:
  • 310g all-purpose white flour
  • 40g cornstarch
  • 50g pistachio, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 230g sugar+70g sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
Mascarpone rose frosting:
  • 250g mascarpone, room temperature
  • 150g white chocolate, melted
  • 200g heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 50g pistachio, chopped
  • 200g fresh strawberries, sliced
Crystallised flowers:
  • 1 egg white
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Rose petals or other flowers, such as primroses or violets (pesticide-free)
Directions:
Pistachio sponge:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line two 18cm diameter baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, cornstarch, ground pistachio, cardamom, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, mix the butter, 230g sugar and lemon zest until creamy and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  4. Add the egg yolks, one by one, and mix another 5 minutes until fluffy and pale.
  5. Combine the milk, buttermilk, vanilla and rose water in a bowl.
  6. Begin adding the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture, alternating it with the milk. Start with flour and end with flour.
  7. Whip the egg whites until stiff then add 70g sugar and continue mixing until stiff and glossy.
  8. Fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter then divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  9. Bake the cakes in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cakes pass the toothpick test.
  10. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans then cut them in half, thus forming 4 layers of sponge cake.
Mascarpone rose frosting:
  1. Mix the mascarpone with vanilla and rose water until creamy then add the melted and cooled chocolate.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Layer the pistachio sponges with dollops of mascarpone frosting, chopped pistachio and sliced strawberries. The layers should look like this: pistachio sponge, mascarpone frosting, chopped pistachio and strawberries then repeat.
Crystallised flowers:
  1. Slighly whip the egg white just until frothy.
  2. Take a small pain brush and spread the egg white on each rose petal or flower. You can also dip the petals or flowers in the egg white, but you might end up with too much egg on your petals. Painting them means a more even layer of sugar.
  3. Holding the petals carefully, sprinkle them on all sides with caster or fine sugar (not powdered or granulated, it needs to be fine).
  4. Place the flowers on a baking tray and let them dry for a few hours at room temperature.
  5. Use crystallised rose petals to decorate cakes or cupcakes, tarts or other desserts.

pistachio rose cake-1-23


ROMANIAN!

Am primit de 8 Martie un trandafir superb de la fratele meu si cum stateam eu si il admiram mi-a venit o idee – de ce sa las frumusetea asta sa se usuce in vaza cand poate servi unui scop mai nobil, acela de a garnisi un tort?! Si cum nu am nevoie decat de o idee si putin timp la dispozitie pentru a o materializa, m-am pus pe treaba si uite asa s-a nascut acest tort cu blat aromat cu fistic si cardamom si o crema fina de mascarpone cu apa de trandafiri. Decorat cu petale de trandafir cristalizate, acest tort e o delicatesa, o incantare pentru pupila si papila.

Ingrediente:

Blat cu fistic:

  • 310g faina alba
  • 40g amidon alimentar
  • 50g fistic macinat
  • 1/4 lingurita cardamom macinat
  • 1/2 lingurita sare
  • 2 lingurite praf de copt
  • 4 oua, separate
  • 230g unt, temperatura camerei
  • 1 lingurita coaja de lamaie
  • 230g zahar + 70g zahar
  • 125ml lapte
  • 125ml lapte batut
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1/2 lingurita apa de trandafiri

Crema de mascarpone:

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 150g ciocolata alba, topita si racita
  • 200ml frisca lichida, batuta
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 lingurita apa de trandafiri
  • 50g fistic tocat
  • 200g capsune proaspete, taiate felii

Petale de trandafiri cristalizate:

  • Petale de trandafiri (de preferat de la trandafiri ne-tratati sau stropiti chimic)
  • 1 albus de ou
  • 100g zahar alb fin

Mod de preparare:

Blat cu fistic:

  1. Preincalziti cuptorul la 180C si tapetati 2 tavi de copt cu hartie de copt.
  2. Amestecati faina, amidonul, fisticul, cardamomul, sarea si praful de copt intr-un bol.
  3. In alt bol, mixati untul cu 230g zahar si coaja de lamaie pana obtineti o compozitie cremoasa, deschisa la culoare, cel putin 5 minute.
  4. Adaugati galbenusurile, unul cate unul, si mixati alte 5 minute.
  5. Combinati laptele, laptele batut, vanilia si apa de trandafiri intr-un vas.
  6. Adaugati faina peste amestecul de unt, alternand-o cu laptele. Incepeti cu faina si terminati cu faina.
  7. Mixati ouale spuma apoi adaugati 70g zahar, treptat, mixand bine pana obtineti o bezea ferma si lucioasa.
  8. Incorporati bezeaua in aluat apoi impartiti blatul intre cele doua tavi.
  9. Coaceti pentru 30-40 minute pana blaturile trec testul scobitorii.
  10. Lasati blaturile sa se raceasca in tavi apoi taiati fiecare blat in jumatate, obtinand astfel 4 discuri de blat.

Crema de mascarpone:

  1. Mixati branza mascarpone cu vanilia si apa de trandafiri.
  2. Adaugati ciocolata topita si racita apoi incorporati frisca batuta.
  3. Pentru a asambla tortul, asezati un disc de blat pe un platou. Acoperiti cu 2-3 linguri de crema, apoi cu fistic tocat si capsune felii. Asezati un nou disc de blat deasupra si continuati cu mascarpone, fistic, capsune etc.

Petale de trandafir cristalizate:

  1. Bateti usor albusul de ou.
  2. Pensulati fiecare petala cu albus de ou apoi presarati-o cu zahar. Scuturati excesul de zahar si asezati petalele intr-o tava sau platou. Lasati cateva ore la temperatura camerei sa se usuce si folositi pentru a decora torturi, tarte, cupcakes sau alte deserturi.
  3. Acelasi procedeu poate fi folosit si pentru alte flori.