Every kid enjoys their birthday party and having a great birthday cake. In addition to a big birthday cake, birthday cupcakes are mandatory to make that party fun. These chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream are so moist and creamy that one or two won’t be enough 😉
That’s why this recipe makes 24 of them 😋
If you want to make only dozen, just half the recipe for the cupcakes and for the buttercream.
I made these for my nephews birthday when we were back in Croatia and he and his friends loved them so much. Colorful pearls or sprinkles makes them even more appealing. 😉
For the cupcakes
430 g (2 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
220 g (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
70 g (5/8 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
235 ml (1 cup) milk
120 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable or similar oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
235 ml (1 cup) boiling water
For the vanilla buttercream
450 g (2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
650 g (5 cups) powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
10 tbsp heavy cream
Preheat oven to 175 °C (350 °F).
Prepare 24 muffin tins – grease and flour them or use paper/silicon molds.
In the large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients – sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking power and salt.
In a separate bowl or in a stand alone mixer mix together the moist ingredients – eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients in the moist ingredients, and mix for three minutes on medium speed.
At the end stir in the boiling water.
Fill each tin about about 2/3 full because they will rise while baking.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: This batter is very, very thin. Don’t worry, the cupcakes will still turn out amazing!
I can’t imagine a better dessert that includes potatoes. Some Croatians would disagree with me about these dumplings being a dessert. It’s still a subject of debate as many Croatians eat them as main course and not as a dessert. In other words, they just eat dessert for main course. I still prefer to have couple of soft, warm, sweet dumplings after a meal 😉
Variety of similar dumplings can be found in Eastern and Central Europe, with savory or sweet fillings. In Croatia, we usually make them with plums or apricots in the summer during the apricot and plum season. They are topped with breadcrumb and butter mixture, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. You can also serve them with sour cream as well.
for 16 small dumplings
800 g (1.75 lb) potatoes, cooked in shell
200 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
16 apricots or plums (pitted)
100 g (1 cup) breadcrumbs
120 g (1/2 cup) butter for the topping
sugar to taste
cinnamon to taste (or not at all, read Z’s note at the end)
I made them LIVE on AZ Entertainment’s show Savour The Flavour back in 2015.
Wash the potatoes well and cook them in the shell.
Cool the cooked potatoes for 5 minutes before peeling, but don’t get them too cold as it will be harder to peel the skin off.
Peeled potatoes immediately mash, add egg and butter, stir well, season with salt and add the flour.
Knead the dough until compact.
Pour dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out and cut into equal squares.
At each square place the halves of pitted fruit, put some sugar and cinnamon (optional) on and form dumplings with hands.
Place the dumplings into a pot of salted boiling water, stir gently and allow them to cook. After about 10 min dumplings will pop up to the surface and then cook them for another 5-6 minutes.
During this time, in a small non stick pan, melt the butter and fry the breadcrumbs. Add more butter/breadcrumbs until you reach desired consistency.
In a small dish, mix sugar with cinnamon for sprinkling.
Drain the cooked dumplings and place them in a serving dish.
Topped them with fried breadcrumbs and toss gently so that they don’t fall apart.
Serve hot dumplings sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and dig in!
Z’s note: I personally find that cinnamon takes away from the apricot flavor and never use it. People often also like to put sour cream on top, when serving. What I like to do is serve dumplings, with sugar, cinnamon and sour cream separately. People then season them as they please and two people rarely do it the same way 🙂
All the poppy seed lovers, this one is my favorite poppy seeds dessert, ever! Period!
Usually, poppy seeds are used in desserts with yeast dough or shortbread pastry. I love them all, don’t get me wrong, but this one takes the win 😉 If you aren’t already a poppy seed lover, after you try this, you might be. Welcome to the club! 😃
This is an unusual strudel made with very liquid poppy seed batter and phyllo sheets. Since every sheet gets smeared, the cake is very soft, moist and not too sweet. Just perfect. Poppy seeds are not your typical ingredient. It’s very popular in Eastern and Central Europe, but not in many other cultures. Other cultures usually aren’t very familiar with it or aren’t used to its particular flavor. This recipe packages it in a way that it’s not only palatable, people can’t stop eating 😋
This is my go to dessert when I need to feed a lot of people, such as when I go to a party or am hosting one of my own. It’s a hit among our multicultural friends here in Canada. Everyone loves it, form our friends from Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Iran to Venezuela and Brazil. Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised!
250 g (1 3/4 cup) ground poppy seeds
15 sheets of phyllo pastry
500 ml (2 cups) liquid yogurt
375 g (1 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
150 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable or similar oil
20 g (2 tbsp) baking powder or two little packages
20 g (2 tbsp) vanilla sugar or two little packages
Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
Mix the eggs with both sugars in stand up electric mixer or with hand electric mixer until foamy.
Add oil and mix a bit more.
At the end, add the remaining ingredients: baking powder, poppy seeds and yogurt. Mix until combined. The mixture is extremely liquid, don’t get scared. This is the way it should be.
Grease a large cookie sheet.
Divide the sheets to make three broad rolls (5 sheets for each out of 3 rolls).
Smear the mixture thinly over each sheet. Roll up the sheets flat in the width of 8-10 cm (1/3 pan).
Coat them with oil and bake them for about half an hour until golden brown.
Have you ever cooked or baked with poppy seed? What is your favorite way to use poppy seeds?
Great new discovery, combining fruit with nuts in a new exciting way! Fudge desserts are not common in Croatia. I like the way they are easy to prepare and you can play with the ingredients for special twists.
We tried this dessert as a part of learning Indian recipes for Holi, a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the “Festival of Love”, the “Festival of Colors”, and the “Festival of Spring”, a few years back with our Google+ foodie community. Thanks Anu Nagaraja for this wonderful recipe. It was a pleasant surprise and a combination of mango and almonds was perfect! 😃
We followed the recipe closely, except we didn’t use saffron strands. I don’t know how that affects the taste, but it was great like this… and we ate it all pretty fast!
260 g (1 cup) of mango puree or mango pulp from fresh mango (any sweet mango which is less fibrous)
90 g (1 cup) ground almonds
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp of cardamom powder
6 – 8 each roughly sliced/chopped pistachios and almonds (we used hickory smoked almonds)
Peel the mango and cut it into cubes.
In a deep thick bottomed pan cook the mango with sugar on low heat.
Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for another minute and then add ground almonds, powdered cardamom and half the quantity of chopped nuts.
Cook stirring well. You will notice that the mixture thickens. Keep cooking and stirring until it begins to come together like a ball but not too firm.
Pour the cooked mixture on a baking sheet.
Spread the mixture using the back of a spoon or a palate knife.
Sprinkle over the rest of the chopped nuts, press them down gently so that they stick on the surface.
Cool completely before cutting into small cubes. We put it in a freezer for an hour.
One of the most popular cakes in North America is for sure a carrot cake. There are so many different versions and some get pretty complex, but I like mine simple. Why? I want to indulge in the flavor of carrots, although I don’t have anything against some nuts or pineapple to compliment the cake 😀 Well, that is another story! 😉
Here is my version, moist cake with creamy cheese filling, perfect dessert for Easter. 🥕🐇
Ingredients for the cake
350 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
450g (3 cups) peeled grated carrots
300 g (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
350 ml (1 1/2 cups) oil
Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting
140 g (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
340 g (3 cup) powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
30 g (2 tbsp) sour cream
450 g (1 3/4 cup) cold cream cheese
Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
Grease and dust with flour round baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
In food processor shred the carrots or grate them manually.
With the electric or stand up mixer beat the eggs with both sugars on medium-high speed until combined.
Add oil in slowly until well incorporated.
With a spatula, stir in the flour mixture and the carrots.
Bake around 30-40 minutes until the cake is done. Test with toothpick by inserting it in the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Cool the cake completely before you cut it in half horizontally.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
With the electric or stand up mixer beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy.
Add the confectioners sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
Beat in the sour cream.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add the cream cheese until fully incorporated.
Increase the speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake, place one half of the cake on a serving platter. Spread half the frosting and top with the other half of the cake. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting.
Decorate the cake as you like. My options were chocolate Easter eggs or Easter sugar cookies. My dear friend Dina made these little minis, aren’t they adorable?
Also known as œufs à la neige or île flottante! The difference between the two dishes is that île flottante sometimes contains islands made of “alternate layers of alcohol-soaked dessert biscuits and jam”. Wink, wink 😉
A few years back I made them live on Google+ Hangouts on AZ Entertainment live cooking show and was so much fun. You can check it out below.
It is also traditionally made in Croatia where we called them Šnenokle in Northwestern region and Paradižot in Dalmatia. The difference being Paradižot has alcohol-soaked dessert biscuits, sometimes with chocolate sprinkles, and Šnenokle won’t get you drunk (except on love maybe) 😁
1 liter (4 cups) of milk
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
½ vanilla bean
2 tbsp cornstarch
Cook vanilla bean in milk in a large pot until boiling hot.
Separate egg whites and yolks.
Beat the egg whites with electric or stand up mixer until stiff.
Place the egg whites with large spoon in the boiling milk. Don’t put too many at once as they will double the size. Turn them over in 30 sec. They shouldn’t boil more than a minute.
Take them out and place them in a serving bowl.
Remove the vanilla bean from the milk.
Mix egg yolks and sugar until foamy, add cornstarch and a bit of the boiling milk. Mix until combined.
Stir in the egg yolk mixture in the boiling milk after you cooked all the egg whites. Whisk until the creme thickens.
Pour the cream over the egg whites.
Chill before serving.
Serve well chilled and decorated with grated chocolate. You can also place the cooked egg whites on sugar cookies soaked in rum.
This cake… could not be simpler 🙂 I usually make it when I make Croatian jam cookies as I have leftover egg whites.
You can use many ingredients to elevate this simple cake. Chopped hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts, dried figs, apricots or dates all go great with this dough. You can combine whatever you like, even fresh fruit can be great.
6 egg whites
200 g (1 1/2 cup) icing sugar
120 g (1 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
50 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
50 g (1/2 cup) chopped almonds
handful of raisins
handful of dried cranberries
lemon zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
Grease and flour baking pan of your choice.
In a stand up mixer beat egg whites with sugar until stiff.
Add flour, lemon zest, nuts and dried fruits. Gently fold in with spatula until combined.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving (optional).
One combination I tested had dried cranberries, raisins, chopped almonds and chopped walnuts and the other one dried figs, dates, raisins, chopped walnuts and chopped pecans.
What would be your favorite combination for this cake?
Traditional cake from a place called Ston, Croatia. Mali Ston or Little Ston, a tiny little village at the end of the isthmus that connects the Pelješac Peninsula with the mainland of the Dalmatian coast.
Historically, like many cakes, Stonska Torta was reserved for special festivities like Christmas, Easter, and weddings, as cakes were considered a luxury. Centuries ago when this cake was born, they used pasta for the filling to economize on ingredients.
Travel tip: This little village is also known for the best oysters at the Adriatic!
For the dough
450 g (3 cups) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-3 tbsp water
For the filling
500 g (5 cup) dried penne or ziti pasta
300 g (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
300 g (1 1/2 cup) ground almonds
100 g (1/3 cup) bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 large eggs
Zest of one lemon
10 g vanilla sugar or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
For the garnish
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour with salt.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs, olive oil and vinegar.
Slowly add the olive oil mixture to the flour, stirring gently with a wooden spoon or spatula. Do not over-work the mixture.
Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture loosely comes together.
Let it rest covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel.
Cook the pasta in boiling unsalted water as instructed on package for al dente.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, almond meal, bread crumbs, and cinnamon.
In another small bowl, beat the eggs slightly with the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Grease and dust with flour a spring-form cake pan.
Roll out dough to a circle and place it into the pan, letting the extra dough drape over the sides of the pan.
Spread a handful of well-drained cooked pasta across the bottom.
Sprinkle with two large handfuls of the almond meal mixture.
Pour 1/2 cup of the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with 1/3 of the butter pieces.
Repeat for all layers to the top or until the ingredients are used up.
After each addition, tap the pan down gently to settle all the layers.
Trim the excess dough from the sides of the pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust is slightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Invert the cake onto a serving platter.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
What is an old traditional cake from the place you are from?
This traditional Moroccan cake is one of my favorite lemon cakes ever. I love its soft structure and amazing lemon flavor. It goes perfectly with Moroccan traditional mint tea, but I enjoy it with coffee or green tea as well.
300 g (1 1/2 cup) sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
265 g (2 cup) all purpose flour
15 g (4 tsp) baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
fresh lemon juice form one lemon
zest from 1 or 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract or 10 g vanilla sugar
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
Grease and flour a round baking pan.
Zest and juice the lemon.
In a stand mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil.
Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the milk. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the lemon juice, zest and vanilla.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes. Test with toothpick if the cake is ready by inserting the toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a spatula, and turn out the cake onto a rack to finish cooling.
Years ago, my foodie friend Anna Jane Dalton made this dessert live on Google+ Hangouts. We had so much fun naming it live while we watched Anna Jane prepare it. Finally we agreed on chocolate tiramisu and the name fits perfectly!
I fell in love with it and decided to make it for Valentine’s Day last year. It’s easy to prepare and you will enjoy sharing this bowl of creaminess with your significant other 😀
Originally recipe has vodka and pomegranate syrup mixed with coffee, if you like it spiked up a bit.