Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

I’ve been wanting to make this Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake for over a year now. Somehow it just got away from me last summer and it almost did the same this summer. I truly feel the flavors of this cake are ideal for the summer months. This isn’t my first crepe cake though, last fall I made a Chocolate-Pumpkin Crepe Cake which was quite delish.

Unfortunately this crepe cake wasn’t a hit amongst my friends who tried it. Not because of the taste but because they weren’t keen on the crepes. They agreed that the lemon curd cream filling between the crepes was good but the crepes themselves not so great. Not so much the flavor, but, the texture. Which I can completely understand. Eating a cake of crepes is nothing like eating a fluffy moist cake. I myself enjoyed it, but, I’m a texture person. In other words, I like sprinkles on my ice cream, nuts in brownies and cookies and so forth. Oh well… You can’t always bake something that everyone will rave about.

One thing I have to point out… This very apropos cake stand I used for this cake. It has a glass lemon as the stem between the base and the plate. I got it from a dear friend’s mom a few days before I made this cake and it made making this cake a little more fun!

 

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd*:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 5 to 6 lemons

 

Crepes:

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup flour

6 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

An additional 3 tablespoons of butter to cook the Crepes

 

Assembly:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crushed amaretti cookies, for garnish (optional)**

 

*If you opt to use store bought lemon curd, you will need 1 cup.

**I used Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats

 

Directions:

Lemon Curd: Beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the whole egg. Once well combined, gradually add in the egg yolks, then the lemon juice. The mixture may appear curdles. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cool. You can keep the lemon curd in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Crepes: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Once the batter is cold, stir it the batter until smooth again. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1 ounce of batter on the skillet and tilt it to even distribute the batter. Cook until the edges on the crepe turn golden and then carefully flip and cook until just set. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Melt another 1/2 teaspoon of butter and continue cooking the crepes in the same manner. Mix the batter between each crepe. Stack the crepes on top of one another and let cool for 30 minutes. You will have between 16-20 crepes.

Assembly: Beat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the lemon curd with a rubber spatula until combined. Then fold the cream-curd mixture into the remaining whipped cream until completely combined.

Place 1 crepe on the center of a cake stand and spread 3 tablespoons of the curd mixture evenly over the crepe. Repeat layering with remaining crepes and curd mixture, ending with a crepe.

Whisk together the remaining cream and confectioners’ sugar with the mascarpone and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Spread the mascarpone cream on the top and the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and garnish with crushed cookies before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Blackberry Mille-Feuille

So, you may be wondering what exactly a Mille-Feuille is? I know I was wondering that when a friend tagged me in an Instagram post for Ree Drummond’s Marvelous Mille-Feuille. Translated from French it means one thousand sheets, layer, or leaves. Still wondering? Well, it’s a dessert consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream… Think a Napoleon. For this version though I added in some blackberries along with a custard made with mascarpone cheese… YUM! A slight variation from Ree Drummond’s as she used raspberries. Why did I use blackberries? Well, it was because the recipe called for raspberry liqueur and since I still had some blackberry liqueur from last year’s White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu I decided to swap out the berries.

I began by thawing a frozen sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions – I used Pepperidge Farm’s Frozen Puff Pastry. Once it was defrosted I rolled it into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut it into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. I placed the three pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and pricked it with a work and then placed it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (alternatively you could place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

While the puff pastry was in the fridge I preheated the oven to 425 F. Once the puff pastry was perfectly chilled, I sprinkled each rectangle with confectioners’ sugar…

And baked it in the oven from about 15 minutes. Until the puff pastry was a golden brown and puffy. I the transferred them to a wire rack to cool.

While the puff pastry cooled, I made the filling. In the bowl of my stand mixer I added confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and vanilla paste and whisked it until soft peaks formed. I then added in the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and whisked for a few more second until the ingredients were combined.

It was then time to assemble. I placed a dab of the whipped mixture on a serving plate and place one of the puff pastry’s on the plate glaze-side down. I spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the puff pastry and then arranged half of the blackberries on top.

I repeated this with another puff pastry rectangle and the remaining mascarpone mixture and berries. I then topped it with the remaining puff pastry rectangle and before serving I dusted it with more confectioners’ sugar.

Verdict… It was a hit! I can’t wait to make it again using freshly picked berries… Maybe I’ll try making it with raspberries next.

Blackberry Mille-Feuille

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting the pastry and the finished dish

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur

zest of 1 lemon

3 – 4 cups fresh blackberries

 

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unfold the pastry and roll it to a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and prick the pastry with a fork and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Dust the pastry with confectioners’ sugar and bake until golden brown and puffy, about 15 minutes. All to cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

In a bowl add the confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone, heavy cream and vanilla paste/extract, beat until soft peaks form – If using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment. Add the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and continue mixing for an additional 10 seconds to ensure the ingredients are all combined.

To Assemble: Dab a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on the serving plate and place one piece of the pastry on the plate – glaze-sized down (the side you sprinkled the sugar on). Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on the pastry and smooth it out evenly. Arrange half of the blackberries on top and repeat with another piece of pasty and the remaining mascarpone mixture and blackberries. Top with the remaining pastry piece and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

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Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

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Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and I have tried making it quite a few times in the past and have always been unsuccessful. I think it was partly because I hadn’t honed in on my baking skills and whenever I would go to buy ladyfingers I could never find them. In case you were wondering, ladyfingers are an egg-based biscuit roughly shaped like a large finger. Well, this time I had the ladyfingers on hand after coming across them at the supermarket on sale and buying them in anticipation of making this dessert. I was determined to master this favorite dessert of time and not to toot my horn, but, I think it’s one of the best desserts I have ever made.

Before assembling the tiramisu I had some prep work to do. I began by whisking egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan until they were well blended. I then added in whole milk and cooked the mixture over medium heat until it began to boil. After removing it from the heat I let the mixture cool slightly and then covered and refrigerated it for an hour. After removing it from the refrigerator I blended in mascarpone cheese until it was smooth. In another bowl I beat whipped cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks formed. And in a third bowl I combined room temperature coffee with Kahlua.

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Using an 8 x 11 inch dish I made the first layer of the tiramisu and then topped it with another. After arranging ladyfingers that I soaked in the coffee and Kahlua mixture I topped it with the mascarpone mixture…

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Then the whipped cream mixture…

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And finally dusted the top with unsweetened cocoa powder. I then covered it and refrigerated it overnight.

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And then the next day it was time to enjoy it and enjoy it I did! It was incredibly light and the ladyfingers while crisp beforehand absorbed the coffee/Kahlua perfectly as well as the mascarpone mixture that was directly spread on top of them. I have finally mastered one of my favorite desserts and will definitely be making it again sooner rather than later.

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Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound mascarpone cheese

1 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature

1/4 cup Kahlua

2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies (24 cookies)

unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. For best results transfer to a Tupperware with a tight fitted lid.

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form.

After one hour remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and beat in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.

In a small bowl, one large enough to lay the ladyfingers in, combine the coffee and Kahlua. Dip the ladyfingers in the mixture for a few seconds and then arrange them in an 8 x 11 inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and then half of the whipped cream over that. Repeat the layers with the remaining lady fingers, mascarpone mixture and whipped cream. Dust the top of the cocoa powder then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

 

Recipe slightly modified from Allrecipes

Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake

Have you ever come across a recipe that you knew you just had to try only to discover that one ingredient in that recipe would be a mission to find? That’s exactly what happened to me. I came across a recipe for a Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine and a key ingredient in for the cake was chocolate graham crackers. I was pretty sure that I had seen them before at a local supermarket or Target, but then after searching quite a few supermarkets and a few Targets I was still out of luck. I even searched the Nabisco website to make sure they were still available and found out that in fact Honey Maid Chocolate Graham Crackers were still in production. So, it was just a matter of finding them and lo and behold I did just that when I randomly strolled down the cookie aisle of a supermarket I normally don’t shop at.

With ingredients like confectioners’ sugar, Nutella, mascarpone cheese, heaving whipping cream and those hard-to-find chocolate graham crackers this was sure to be a delicious cake.

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To begin I whipped together heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in one bowl until stiff peaks formed.

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In another bowl I whipped together the remaining heavy cream and mascarpone cheese the recipe called for along with the Nutella until once again stiff peaks formed.

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Then it was time to begin assembling the cake. (Of course before assembling I had to try both of the whipped mixtures and they were delicious.) I lined the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with 4 graham crackers, breaking the crackers as need be so there wouldn’t be any big gaps.

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I then spread half of the mascarpone-vanilla mixture over the crackers…

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And then layered another four graham crackers over it…

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And then spread half of the mascarpone-Nutella mixture over the crackers…

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I continued the layering process ending with a top layer of the mascarpone-Nutella mixture.

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I wrapped the cake with plastic wrap – I also wrapped the bottom with aluminum foil to make sure the plastic wrap would stay on – and refrigerated it overnight.

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Prior to serving the cake I unmolded it from the springform pan and pressed the crumbs of 4 crushed graham crackers around the sides of the cake.

Final verdict… It was AMAZING! If you follow by blog regularly you know that in February I always make a character cake – first there was Elmo, then Minnie Mouse and this year it was an Enchanted Castle – for my friend’s daughters’ birthday, well, she happily ate a slice of this cake in record time and when I saw how much she enjoyed it I told her that next year this would be the cake I make for her birthday and she had no objections! We’ll see what happens when February rolls around though… I’ve already been thinking about some sort of Frozen theme. Regardless, I’m already looking forward to making this cake again. I should head back to that supermarket to pick up another box or two of the graham crackers just in case… Another search for them would not be fun, especially since I know how delicious this cake is now.

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Icebox Cake

1 3/4 cups cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

20 whole chocolate graham crackers

1. Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup each heavy cream and mascarpone with the chocolate-hazelnut spread in a separate bowl. Beat with the mixer on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with 4 graham crackers in a single layer, breaking them into pieces to fit and fill and big gaps. Spread half of the vanilla whipped cream over the graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers. Spread half of the chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream on top. Repeat with another layer of graham crackers, the remaining vanilla chipped cream, then more graham crackers and the remaining chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. Uncover the cake and run a thin knife around the edge to loosen. Remove the springform ring; smooth the sides of the cake using an offset spatula. Put the remaining 4 graham crackers in a large resealable bag; crush into fine crumbs using the bottom of a skillet. Press the crumbs around the side of the cake.

 

 

Lavender Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

A few weeks ago while I was out and about in Brooklyn, NY I stopped into the Middle Eastern grocery store Sahadi’s and immediately fell in love with the place. My senses were on overload with the abundance of cheeses, pastries, hard to find ingredients and herbs & spices (and that’s just to name a few of the items you can find here.) One of the herbs I couldn’t resist buying was dried lavender.

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A few years ago I took a cooking class where we made Honey-Lavender Fritters and I have always remembered how delicious they were so initially I was thinking of making those, but after some Google searches I settled on cupcakes instead – I can always make the fritters at a later time since I do have plenty of dried lavender left. I settled on a recipe from a fellow blogger – Sweet Society – and got to baking.

To start I soaked 3 tablespoons of dried lavender in whole milk in the refrigerator for eight hours.

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After straining I set it aside and began making the batter for the cupcakes.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I sifted flour, baking powder and salt together.

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I then added in softened butter and sugar and mixed all the ingredients together until the texture of the mixture was sand-like.

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Next up I added in the lavender infused milk and an egg.

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The batter quickly came together and was ready to be filled into my Spring themed cupcake liners.

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The batter was the perfect amount for twelve cupcakes.

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After baking for 20 minutes in a 325 F preheated oven they were done.

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While the cupcakes cooled I made the frosting. I decided to try something completely new and opted for a Mascarpone Frosting which simply consisted of mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar.

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In one bowl I mixed the heavy cream until stiff peaks formed and in the other bowl I mixed together the mascarpone cheese and confectioners’ sugar until it was smooth.

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Once that was I done folded the whipped cream into the mascarpone and sugar mixture until it was completely incorporated. Following that I piped the frosting onto my cupcakes.

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These cupcakes along with the frosting were a winner… Definitely something to make again!

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Lavender Cupcakes

Makes 10-12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender – you’re going to combine the milk and dried lavender in a bowl with a lid and set in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, preferably overnight, to infuse

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter – softened

1 egg – room temperature

Directions:

1) Infuse the milk and dried lavender as stated above in ingredients.

2) Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).

3) Using a strainer, strain the infused lavender milk to remove the dried lavender.

4) In the bowl of your stand mixer (or mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer), sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

5) Add in sugar and softened butter to your dry ingredients from step 4. Mix with the paddle attachment on low until all is combined and the texture is sandy (the butter mixed with the dry ingredients should feel crumbly/sand-like).

6) With the stand mixer on low, slowly pour the infused milk into the flour mixture and mix just until the last of the milk is combined. Now add in the egg.

7) Mix for 15 seconds on medium speed, and then scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are combined. Make sure not to over-mix (over-mixing results in a dry cake).

8) Fill the cupcake liners 2/3rd’s full, bake cupcakes at 325 degrees (F) for 20-23 minutes or when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

9) Remove cupcakes and set on a wire cooling rack until completely cool

Mascarpone Frosting

Yields 2 Cups

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy)

In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.