Sharlotka – Russian Apple Cake

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My daughter has been attending a summer music program here in Northport for the past two months and this morning she had her first violin performance.  She did great and I am so proud of her work and music accomplishments!

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To celebrate this event and well my first day of two weeks of vacation, I’ve decided to make Sharlotka or in other words Russian Apple Cake.   Sharlotka is a well known sponge cake usually made with Green Apples such as Granny Smith.  There are so many different variations of it, but all of them usually include eggs, sugar and flour.   I’ve seen various recipes for this dish online, but I decided to stick to our family’s favorite.  They key for this melt in your mouth recipe is to add  a little bit of sour cream, making this cake a lot more moist and just a dab sweet.

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Ingredients:

5 large apples (Granny Smith)
9 eggs
1  1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of flour
 
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How to make Sharlotka (Apple Cake):
 

1.  Wash and peel your apples.  I prefer Granny Smith apples, but you may choose different ones to your liking.  These apples are a bit sour, and I don’t like making this cake very sweet.  If you like it on the sweet side, just use sweet apples and add more sugar.

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2.  Cut up your apples and remove the core.

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3.  Using mandoline slicer cut up the apple pieces into thin even slices.  You can also simply cut them up in small pieces.

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4.  Break all your eggs in a bowl.  I used medium size egg, if you have smaller size or larger size eggs…you may need to slightly change the quantity.

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5.  Then add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and mix well until frothy.

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6.  Then add 1/2 cup of Sour Cream and 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix again.

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7.  Finally add 2 cups of flour slowly and mix, until well incorporated.

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8.  Use a large enough cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

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9.   Layer apples on the bottom of the pan and then add some batter.

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10.  Repeat the process until the pan is filled.

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11.  Preheat your oven to 350F and bake the cake for 60 minutes.  Make sure to check that the toothpick will come out clean.  Baking time may vary from oven to oven.

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12.  Once the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool.  Then transfer the cake on the plate and dust it with some powdered sugar.

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Enjoy!

Natalie

Sharlotka - Russian Apple Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Just a tad sweet, Russian dessert made with fresh Granny Smith apples.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 5 large apples (Granny Smith)
  • 9 eggs
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of flour
Instructions
  1. Wash and peel your apples. I prefer Granny Smith apples, but you may choose different ones to your liking. These apples are a bit sour, and I don’t like making this cake very sweet. If you like it on the sweet side, just use sweet apples and add more sugar.
  2. Cut up your apples and remove the core.
  3. Using mandoline slicer cut up the apple pieces into thin even slices. You can also simply cut them up in small pieces.
  4. Break all your eggs in a bowl. I used medium size egg, if you have smaller size or larger size eggs…you may need to slightly change the quantity.
  5. Then add 1½ cups of sugar and mix well until frothy.
  6. Then add ½ cup of Sour Cream and 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix again.
  7. Finally add 2 cups of flour slowly and mix, until well incorporated.
  8. Use a large enough cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
  9. Layer apples on the bottom of the pan and then add some batter.
  10. Repeat the process until the pan is filled.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350F and bake the cake for 60 minutes. Make sure to check that the toothpick will come out clean. Baking time may vary from oven to oven.
  12. Once the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Then transfer the cake on the plate and dust it with some powdered sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Snickers Caramel Cheesecake

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There are number of all “American” things that most sweet tooth lovers enjoy…that is chocolate and well…cheesecake.    Combination of those two ingredients topped with peanuts and caramel syrup makes this desert simply irresistable.  I admit, I was never a fan of cheesecake…but perhaps this version will now change my mind.  I wouldn’t change anything about it, it came out just perfect.  I hope you will enjoy it too!

The main inspiration for this cake was Snickers and Peanuts.  Ofcourse being curious me, I went to my old friend google to learn more about it and thought to share with you what I found.

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“The Snickers Candy Bar is a chewy peanut butter nougat and caramel and roasted peanut topping candy bar covered in dairy milk chocolate made and marketed by Mars, Inc, a US based private corporation that is one of the world’s largest food and confectionary suppliers.   Frank and Ethel Mars, the founders of Mars, Inc created the very successful Milky Way chocolate bar in the early 1920s, which was America’s most popular candy bar between 1927 and 1929 allowing the company to expand and develop new recipes for chocolate candy. The Snickers bar took over three years to develop and wasn’t released to the market until 1930. Frank and Ethel also owned a farm that bred race horses in Tennessee, some of which were regular sweepstake winners, including Ethel’s favorite, a horse named Snickers.  ”Who would think this chocolate bar was named after a horse?”:)

Sadly the horse died a month or two before the new product was to be released, an since a new name hadn’t been settled on, and the farm in any event had been named after the first chocolate bar, the Milky Way Farm, it seemed fitting that the next chocolate bar should take its name from the farm. By all accounts Ethel was delighted that the name of her favorite horse would be chosen.

Very little changed with the Snickers brand during its first forty years of production, except in 1968 when Mars were inspired to produce the Snickers mini candy bar which sold in bags of a dozen or more and were labeled ‘fun size’. Fun size candy bars were heavily marketed at parents concerned about the sugar and fat content of regular size chocolate bars as the ideal accompaniment to school lunch boxes and family snacks for the kitchen pantry.”

Sources:
1.  History of Snickers Candy Bar.  Retrieved May 20, 2012.

 

Ingredients:
 
Crust Ingredients
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or ready made package)
1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
 

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Filling for the Cheesecake
3 (11.5 oz) packages of cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup heavy cream
 

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Topping
20 Mini Snickers bars (cut into fourths)
1/3 cup roasted peanuts (chopped)
¼ cup caramel syrup

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How to make Snickers Caramel Cheesecake.

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (that is to pre-cook your crust before you actually bake your cake).  Then wrap a 9 inch spring form pan tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil to prevent leaks when using the water bath.  I used double layer on the outside and it worked like magic no leaks!:)

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2. Melt one stick of butter in the microwave and add on top of 2 cups of crackers.  I used ready made mix, but you can simply blend them using your food processor.  You will need about two cups of crumbs.  In a medium bowl add your crumbs, melted stick of butter 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar.

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3.  Mix together the crust ingredients until well combined.

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4.  Pour crumb mixture on the buttom of your spring form pan.  Make sure you flatten and even out the layer, I used the backside of small measuring cup to flatten crust out.  It should come about once inch higher on the sides of your spring form.  Once ready, place it into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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5.  While you cooking the cheesecake filling, boil a large pot of water, which will be used later for baking in a water bath. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar and beat with a mixer until smooth.  I used Whipped Cream Cheese for my recipe to make this cake more airy and light.

6.  Crack all your eggs in a large measuring cup.  It will make blending process easier when blending eggs next.

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7.  Add the eggs one at a time (while mixing) until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl with spatula in between each egg.

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8.  Once cream cheese and eggs are well mixed, add the heavy cream and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth.

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9.  Your batter is ready.  You can pour the batter over the prepared crust in the spring form pan.

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10.  Place the spring form pan into a larger pan and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

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11.  Now you are ready to bake your cake.  Place it into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes (depending on your oven).  You will know your cake is ready when the edges will appear to be set but the center will still have some jiggle to it.

12.  One it’s ready, close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the cheesecake rest in the cooling oven for one hour. After one hour, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place it into a cooling rack to cool completely. Once it has cooled, place it into the refrigerator overnight.

13.  In order to remove the cake from the spring form, carefully run the knife around spring form edges (this will prevent your crust from breaking).  Finally release the spring form and gently place the caking on a cake platter (remove the foil gently from the buttom of the cake).

14.  Decorate your cake by chopping small bite size Snicker Bars and roughly chopped roasted peanuts.  Finally pour some good quality caramel syrup on the top.

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 Enjoy!

This recipe has been adopted from www.BlogChef.net.  Thank you very much to Bobby for inspiration!

Natalie

Snickers Caramel Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Snickers Caramel Cheesecake topped with extra peanuts and caramel syrup.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • Crust Ingredients
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or ready made package)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Filling for the Cheesecake
  • 3 (11.5 oz) packages of cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Topping
  • 20 Mini Snickers bars (cut into fourths)
  • ⅓ cup roasted peanuts (chopped)
  • ¼ cup caramel syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (that is to pre-cook your crust before you actually bake your cake). Then wrap a 9 inch spring form pan tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil to prevent leaks when using the water bath.
  2. Melt one stick of butter in the microwave and add on top of 2 cups of crackers. I used ready made mix, but you can simply blend them using your food processor. You will need about two cups of crumbs. In a medium bowl add your crumbs, melted stick of butter ½ teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Mix together the crust ingredients until well combined.
  4. Pour crumb mixture on the buttom of your spring form pan. Make sure you flatten and even out the layer, I used the backside of small measuring cup to flatten crust out. It should come about once inch higher on the sides of your spring form. Once ready, place it into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. While you cooking the cheesecake filling, boil a large pot of water, which will be used later for baking in a water bath. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar and beat with a mixer until smooth. I used Whipped Cream Cheese for my recipe to make this cake more airy and light.
  6. Crack all your eggs in a large measuring cup. It will make blending process easier when blending eggs next.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time (while mixing) until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl with spatula in between each egg.
  8. Once cream cheese and eggs are well mixed, add the heavy cream and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth.
  9. Your batter is ready. You can pour the batter over the prepared crust in the spring form pan.
  10. Place the spring form pan into a larger pan and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
  11. Now you are ready to bake your cake. Place it into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes (depending on your oven). You will know your cake is ready when the edges will appear to be set but the center will still have some jiggle to it.
  12. One it’s ready, close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the cheesecake rest in the cooling oven for one hour. After one hour, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place it into a cooling rack to cool completely. Once it has cooled, place it into the refrigerator overnight.
  13. In order to remove the cake from the spring form, carefully run the knife around spring form edges (this will prevent your crust from breaking). Finally release the spring form and gently place the caking on a cake platter (remove the foil gently from the buttom of the cake).
  14. Decorate your cake by chopping small bite size Snicker Bars and roughly chopped roasted peanuts. Finally pour some good quality caramel syrup on the top.

 

 

Homemade Flan

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I have tried number of these delicious deserts during our family trips to Mexico.  I have also seen them in our local supermarkets, but honestly didn’t pay much attention to it, while grocery shopping.  I was thinking about making something different today and came across many videos how to make a Flan and finally decided to give in and give it a try.  It was so easy to make and kids simply loved it’s creamy and smooth texture.

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For those of you who never tried it….flan is a dessert with eggs and milk as the usual main ingredients. Usually it is made into an open type of pastry like pies. It may also be mixed with other ingredients to add flavoring. One such ingredient commonly mixed to it is caramelized sugar. This is usually put on top or at the bottom of the custard or flan mixture to add a sweet flavor. It is also for this reason that flans are also called cream caramels.

Flan recipes can be traced as far back as ancient Roman times. During this period, Romans were said to raise chickens to keep the eggs. Reports indicate that when there were so many eggs available, some Romans decided to make new recipes. This eventually led to the development of the custard-like mixture we know today. But during the Roman times, flan was more of a savory dish rather than a sweet dessert. Various food items and ingredients were mixed with egg and milk to come up with a variety of dishes.

Flan then evolved over the years as a sweet dessert. Eggs and milk or cream are still the basic ingredients in making this well-loved dessert. The word “flan” has Latin roots and it means “flat cake”. It later became “flaon” which is an Old French word. Flan recipes eventually reached many countries of the world. In Spain, flan became the custard dessert mixed with caramelized sugar. In other countries like the UK, flan was made with pastry crusts and became more like custard pies. The English version of this dessert is also often mixed with nuts and a variety of fruits.

Today, flan recipes are very popular especially in Latin American countries, in the US, Japan, and the Philippines. Various recipes were invented and sometimes using alternatives to the original ingredients. The Japanese are said to substitute cow’s milk with milk from soy in making their flan desserts. Others put extra ingredients like fruit slices and whip cream to add to the sweet creamy taste.

Source:  What is Flan?.  Retrieved November 30, 2013

Ingredients:

1 Cup of White Sugar
1 (14 oz) can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Cups of Heavy Cream
1 Cup of Milk
5 Eggs
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
 
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How to make Flan:

1.  Break 5 Eggs into a bowl and wisk them well.

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2.  In a large mixing bowl.  Pour 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk.

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3.  Add 2 Cups of Heavy Cream.  You can probably use half and half too, but I decided to go with original recipe.

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4.  Then add 1 Cup of Milk.  You can also replace it with less fattened milk if you want to cut on calories…but I used whole milk in mine.

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5.  Pour your eggs into your mixture.   I avoided wisking them before hand and it made it much harder to mix everything.

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6.  Slightly mix your mixture and add 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract.

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7.  Now mix everything well to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated. You can also use a blender to do this, but I did it by hand to make less mess:)

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8.  Then pour your mixture into a glass jar to make it easier to distribute between ramekins later on.

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9.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need 6 small baking pans or 8 small ramekins or other specialty flan cookware and a large baking pan to put them in.

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10.  Now you are ready to caramelize your sugar.  Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat.

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11.  Constantly stir sugar until is browns and becomes caramel.

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12.  Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each baking dish, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.

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13.  Then pour pour your mixture and distribute it evenly between all ramekins.  You can also use a round pie baking dish or small ramekins.  I decided to go with rectangular baking forms.  Place the filled baking forms into a large pan and add 1 inch of hot water to the outer pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until set.

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14.  When you Flan is ready, slightly run with a knife around the edges and invert it into your plate.  You can decorate it with caramel sugar swirls or fresh fruit.  Enjoy!

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Love,

Natalie

Homemade Flan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious homemade Flan with Caramel Sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1 (14 oz) can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Break 5 Eggs into a bowl and wisk them well.
  2. In a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk.
  3. Add 2 Cups of Heavy Cream. You can probably use half and half too, but I decided to go with original recipe.
  4. Then add 1 Cup of Milk. You can also replace it with less fattened milk if you want to cut on calories…but I used whole milk in mine.
  5. Pour your eggs into your mixture.
  6. Slightly mix your mixture and add 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract.
  7. Now mix everything well to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated. You can also use a blender to do this.
  8. Then pour your mixture into a glass jar to make it easier to distribute between ramekins later on.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need 6 small baking pans or 8 small ramekins or other specialty flan cookware and a large baking pan to put them in.
  10. Now you are ready to caramelize your sugar. Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat.
  11. Constantly stir sugar until is browns and becomes caramel.
  12. Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each baking dish, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.
  13. Then pour pour your mixture and distribute it evenly between all ramekins. You can also use a round pie baking dish or small ramekins. I decided to go with rectangular baking forms. Place the filled baking forms into a large pan and add 1 inch of hot water to the outer pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until set.
  14. When you Flan is ready, slightly run with a knife around the edges and invert it into your plate. You can decorate it with caramel sugar swirls or fresh fruit. Enjoy!

 

Waffle Cake with Dulce De Leche and Apple Jam

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Now that Independence Day has passed, long weekend is over and life goes back to normal… well at least for most if not for all:) We can all discuss and share our memories of hopefully great weekend! We spent amazing time at this gorgeous place on the lake, in Glen Spey, New York.  Kids did some fishing, swimming, collecting leaves, flowers and even a turtle.  They named her – Lily, but unfortunately she didn’t want to stay for too long and magically disappeared from her handmade house out of a cartoon box.

The weekend was great, and the fireworks on the lake shortly after the sunset were simply unforgettable.  Couldn’t resist and sharing some photos with all of you, it was the most beautiful Independence Day I ever had!

Fireworks

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Kids also helped a lot around the house.  The place we stayed in had almost camping conditions and our food choices were somewhat limited, but yet the menu was still great.  One of the things kids did (almost on their own) was a Waffle Cake with Dulce de leche and Apple Jam.  Girls loved the idea of making this cake because it took only 15 minutes to prepare and can be enjoyed soon afterwards.  Sharing with all of you this simple and kids friendly cake recipe!

Ingredients:

1 Pack of multi colored Waffles
1 Can of Dulce de leche
1/2 Jar of Apple Jam (or any other Jam you have available)
Fresh Fruit or Nuts to decorate
 
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How to make Waffle Cake with Dulce de leche and Apple Jam:

1.  Open your waffles package, be gentle so the sides wouldn’t chip and break. The waffles were purchased in Net Cost supermarket, which has a nice variety of very colorful ones, but I am sure other supermarkets sell something equal to these.

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2.  Open 1 can of Dulce de leche and 1 Jar of Apple Jam (or any other jam you have available might also work).  I would just try to avoid very runny jams or the ones that have large thick pieces of fruit or seeds inside, as it would make it more difficult to layer the cake and waffles may break.

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3.  Now you are ready to start making your cake.  Start with spreading Dulce de leche on the first layer of the cake.

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4.  Followed by the layer of Apple Jam on the next waffle, which is placed on the top.  Plastic knife would do the job perfectly, but give kids a metal spoon for scooping the Jam and Dulce de leche out, especially if they were just taken from the fridge.

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5.  Make sure the Jam and Dulce de leche is spread all around up to the edges evenly.   Might want to give your kids a helping hand to finish each layer once they tell to you that they are “Done”.

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6.  Your cake is almost done.  Make sure to add the last top layer of Jam or Dulce de leche on the top layer if you want to add some fruits or nuts on the top of it to decorate.

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7.   If you like it plain, don’t add any jam or Dulce de leche on the top layer.   It’s easier to eat, store and serve this way…we prepared both versions since girls liked it differently.  I find that most kids actually prefer it plain Dulce de leche in the middle and no toppings, but every kid is different so up to you to decide what works best.

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8.  When the top layer is done and covered with Jam or  Dulce de leche, you can then decorate it with fresh fruit, shaved chocolate, nuts or what ever you prefer.  We only had some fruits available and decided to decorate our cake this way.

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Your waffle cake is all ready!  Now all you need to do is to put in the refrigerator for few hours before you can enjoy it! I hope you and your kids also love this easy recipe.  Have you also tried other variations of this cake? Please share, would love to hear back from you!

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Happy Independence Day!

Natalie

Waffle Cake with Dulce De Leche and Apple Jam
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Waffle Cake with Dulce De Leche and Apple Jam
Author:
Recipe type: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukranian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Pack of multi colored Waffles
  • 1 Can of Dulce de leche
  • ½ Jar of Apple Jam (or any other Jam you have available)
  • Fresh Fruit or Nuts to decorate
Instructions
  1. Open your waffles package, be gentle so the sides wouldn’t chip and break.
  2. Open 1 can of Dulce de leche and 1 Jar of Apple Jam (or any other jam you have available might also work). I would just try to avoid very runny jams or the ones that have large thick pieces of fruit or seeds inside, as it would make it more difficult to layer the cake and waffles may break.
  3. Now you are ready to start making your cake. Start with spreading Dulce de leche on the first layer of the cake.
  4. Followed by the layer of Apple Jam on the next waffle, which is placed on the top. Plastic knife would do the job perfectly, but give kids a metal spoon for scooping the Jam and Dulce de leche out, especially if they were just taken from the fridge.
  5. Make sure the Jam and Dulce de leche is spread all around up to the edges evenly. Might want to give your kids a helping hand to finish each layer once they tell to you that they are “Done”.
  6. Your cake is almost done. Make sure to add the last top layer of Jam or Dulce de leche on the top layer if you want to add some fruits or nuts on the top of it to decorate.
  7. If you like it plain, don’t add any jam or Dulce de leche on the top layer. It’s easier to eat, store and serve this way.
  8. When the top layer is done and covered with Jam or Dulce de leche, you can then decorate it with fresh fruit, shaved chocolate, nuts or what ever you prefer. We only had some fruits available and decided to decorate our cake this way.
  9. Your waffle cake is all ready! Now all you need to do is to put in the refrigerator for few hours before you can enjoy it!
  10. I hope you and your kids also love this easy recipe.

 

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