Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi gras 2012

And while around here we celebrate Mardi gras stuffing ourselves with a large and soft piece of king cake, in Italy, precisely in Naples,` we’d like to engourge ourselves in a savory, tasty and fattening pie, called pizza rustica. It calls for everything is not allowed to eat during lenght, such as salami, sausage,egg and cheese, everything enclosed in a semi-sweet pastru dough. Her ethe recipe, I hope you enjoy as much as we do!


Pizza di carnevale (CAmpania)

Adapted from the restaurant “ Le tre arcate” in Piano di Sorrento


Pie crust:

2 lbs all purpose flour

10.5 oz shortening

3 eggs

7 oz milk

sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all the ingredients until you get a nice dough. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.


5 eggs

28 oz ricotta cheese

8 oz salami, diced

1 lb mozzarella cheese, diced

2 oz toasted pinenuts

3 oz golden raisin, soaked in warm water

4 oz parmesan cheese, grated

4 oz shrerdded provolone cheese

salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste

Mix all the ingredients and set aside.


Cut the dough in half. Roll one half and line a 9 inches baking pan. Pour the filling in it and cover with th eremaining rolled dough. Seal well the border, Brush the surface with milk and bake thep ie in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool it before cutting it. Enjoy!


This last picture is courtesy of Mrs Lisa Laurito from Facebook.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cake or cupcake! That’s a dilemma!

Are you craving for something sweet? And if you could choose, it would be a cake or a cupcake? I’ll give you the recipe and I hope the input to try both, if you like!


Vegetable oil cooking spray
2¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting cake pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (16 tablespoons), brought to room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López®)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 large eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 (packed) cup sweetened shredded coconut (6 ounces), finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.Generously spray two 9 x 2-inch cake pans with cooking spray, and cover the pan bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray the rounds, and dust the cake pans with flour; tap outthe excess, and set aside until needed.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk to aerate and mix evenly; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and cream of coconut and continue beating until the mixture is light in texture, about 2 to 3 minutes (creaming). Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla and coconut extracts; mix to combine. Add the eggs yolk one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix just until the final addition of flour is incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and gently fold the finely chopped coconut into the batter; set aside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment; make sure the bowl and whisk are scrupulously clean. Whisk on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium, and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to medium-high, and continue whisking until the whites are stiff but not dry.
Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven, spacing them evenly apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, until the cakes pull away from the sides of the
pans and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edges to loosen the cakes from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate; then, re-invert them onto the cooling rack, rounded-side up. Let cool completely.

1 cup seedless raspberry jam
½ cup Lime Curd (recipe follows)

Combine the jam and lime curd in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until
evenly combined. Store, refrigerated, until needed.

Lime curd:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup key lime juice**
1 teaspoon finely minced lime zest

Place the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Allow the butter to melt, then add the eggs, sugar and lime juice, whisking to combine.
Cook over low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the zest, then cover and chill.

Note: The curd will thicken more as it cools.


1½ (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (12 ounces), brought to room temperature
¾ stick unsalted butter (6 tablespoons), brought to room temperature
1/3 cup sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López®)
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon coconut extract
1½ cups confectioners' sugar

Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer, and add the cream of coconut and extracts; mix until just combined.
With the mixer speed on low, add the confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, until all is incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed, and mix until the icing is light and fluffy.



Use a serrated knife to split each cooled cake layer in two. (Note:
You will now have four layers total). Place a small dab of icing in the center of a cardboard cake round or cake plate. Place one cake layer, cut-side down, in the center of the board or plate. Spoon ½ cup Raspberry Lime Filling onto the cake layer, and use an offset spatula or large palette knife to spread the filling in an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge.
Repeat this process with the second and third cake layers, placing each layer cut-side down and spreading each with ½ cup Raspberry Lime Filling; leave a ½-inch border.
Top the cake with the final layer, placing it cut-side down. Press gently with even pressure on top of the cake. Ensure that all the layers are centered on each other.
Cover the tops and sides of the cake with the icing. Sprinkle coconut over the top of the cake, and gently press coconut onto the sides until the entire cake is covered.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Patriotic cakes

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!!!  The heat in Houston is really getting worst, but it didn't stop me to bake cakes. Actually for the occasion I had to prepare more than one and I'm glad to share those with you! The recipe is the same for both, but for the birthday cake you'll need to double the amount of the ingredients.

The white cake is the base for this light and nice cake,  richer from this velvety frosting. I choose raspberry for the top, but you can substitute with strawberry, if you prefer. Enjoy!



flag cake (2)

1¼ cups mascarpone cheese
1¼ cups heavy cream, chilled well
5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons almond extract

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
whisk the mascarpone on medium speed until soft. Add the cream, and beat until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla and almond extract; continue beating until the cream forms soft to medium peaks. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.


birthday patriottic cake (9)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), brought to room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
6 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
¾ cup whole milk, brought to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
½ pint fresh blueberries, for garnish
1 pint fresh raspberries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan; line the bottom with parchment paper to help prevent sticking.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside until needed. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk, vanilla and almond extracts.
Reduce the mixer speed to low; add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Increase the speed to medium, and add half of the milk mixture. Repeat the process until all of the flour and milk mixtures have been added in, ending with the last addition of the flour
Pour the batter into the prepared pan; smooth the top of the cake with a large, metal offset spatula to level the batter. Tap the pan on the counter one or two times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven, and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack. Remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
Using a large, metal offset spatula, spread about 2/3 of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining frosting.

Arrange a small square of blueberries in the top left-hand corner of the cake, about 7 to 8 blueberries down and 9 to 10 blueberries across. Pipe small rosettes on top of the blueberries to represent stars. Pipe large horizontal stripes across the cake (one on each of the long sides of the cake and three in the center), all evenly spaced apart. Do not pipe stripes over the blueberries. Fill in the spaces between the stripes with strawberries, sliced or whole, or raspberries.
Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the Viking Cooking School

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A very whimsical chocolate cake

Few months ago I've taught a cake class - at the Viking Cooking School in the Woodlands - and this luscious chocolate cake was the king of the class. Three layers of chocolate cake frosted with chocolate buttercream. What else do you want from life?!? If you want to have more fun, just add few touches with rolled fondant!

chocolate cake (5)

2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting cake pans
2 cups boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
2½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, brought to room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

chocolate cake
Chocolate Frosting:
1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 pinch fine salt
½ cup half-and-half
2 sticks unsalted butter cut into cubes
2½ cups confectioners' sugar

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside until needed.
Whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until completely combined; set aside to cool to room temperature.
In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until light in color,about 5 minutes.
At low speed, add one-quarter of the flour mixture to the butter mixture followed by one third of the cooled cocoa mixture; repeat until all of the ingredients are well combined.
Divide the batter evenly between three, 9-inch, round, buttered and cocoa-dusted cake pans.
Bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched and the sides begin to shrink away from the pan, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes; unmold onto wire racks, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

For the Frosting: In the top of a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate with the salt and half-and-half; cool for about 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add the butter, 1 cube at a time, beating until fully incorporated. When the
mixture is smooth, increase the speed and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, ½ cup at a time; continue mixing on high speed until doubled in volume, about 5 to 7 minutes.

To Assemble: With a cake knife, trim the top of each layer. Place 1 layer on a cardboard cake round, and spread with a thin layer of frosting. Add the second and third layer, frosting each. Using an offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake generously. If you want, cover with rolled fondant and make decoration with it.

Recipe adapted from the Viking cooking school, The Woodlands.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When time runs too fast....

... and you really need something sweet, here the cake for you. I already did this time ago (check here), but I wasn't really happy with the texture. so, playing with the ingredients - adding something here; taking off something there - I came up with this new and improved version of the fastest cake ever!

7 minutes coconut cake


  • 150 gr flour
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 100 gr coconut flour
  • 140 ml vegetable oil
  • 125 ml heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch salt

Whip eggs and sugar; stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour in a silicon pan (8 by 2 inches) and cook  in the microwave at High for 7 minutes.

Remove from the pan and frost it with a glaze of sugar and water. Decorate with sprinkles.

Note: if you have a 4 inched deep pan - trust me - is better: you won't see your cake try to run out of the pan!!!!

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