Tag Archives: raspberries

Eating Red: Araceli Paz

Happy Monday friends. I’m ready and wishing for a bright and lively week. How about you? Right now I can’t get enough of the styled food photography by Araceli Paz, but I’m especially crushing on these images in tasty shades of red. Stunning. And mouth-watering. A few of my favorites…

Cupcakes for Breakfast: araceli paz red food styling – sorbet dessert and figsaraceli paz red food styling – raspberries and macaronsCupcakes for Breakfast: araceli paz red food styling – cocktail and chili peppers

Chocolate Decadence

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

So I’ve blogged this quote from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, a while back. But really it’s all I can think about all day. So let’s start there.

“It’s going to sound silly, I know, but I think that what it all comes down to is winning hearts and minds. Underneath everything else, all the plans and goals and hopes, that’s why we get up in the morning, why we believe, why we try, why we bake chocolate cakes. That’s the best we can ever hope to do: to win hearts and minds, to love and be loved.”

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

I’m on a layer cake kick. My new office has more people than my previous one, which is the perfect excuse to bake something a little bigger, without worrying about leftovers. These cakes get devoured in just a few hours. I’ll tell you a secret…I thrive on that feeling. It brings me so much joy. So, besides the fact that this chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling, chocolate ganache and raspberries is just pure chocolate decadence, once it was all assembled, I realized it’s also a pure “winning hearts and minds” cake too.

It’s a little about fitting in. It’s a little about declaring who I am. Both take perfect shape in the form of chocolate cake.

So I threw this thing together. While it seems over the top, it was really quite simple for me. And I think that’s why I love it. Baking. Chocolate. Feeding people. It means so much. It’s not complicated. It just makes sense.

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

You can really put these components together in any form…layered cake, cupcakes, a trifle. I spread the mousse between the two cake layers, frosted the top with the rich chocolate ganache and garnished it with fresh raspberries. Make it your own and share it with people around you. I promise it will stir up something to talk about.

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter round or square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
  2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.
  4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ounces finely chopped chocolate
  1. In a small heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Gradually add just enough milk to make a paste, then stir in the rest.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula (make sure you’re getting the corners of the pan) until mixture comes to a boil. Boil gently, and stir for about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chocolate until melted and smooth.
  6. Cover the surface of the frosting with wax paper and let cool until spreadable.

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberries

 Chocolate Mousse Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups cold, heavy cream, plus an additional 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until they melt and mixture becomes well blended.
  2. Remove chocolate mix from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside
  3. Using the whisk attachment in stand mixer, beat the remaining heavy cream on medium speed. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Once incorporated, beat the mixture on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture with the whipped cream. (You might not use all of the chocolate.) Don’t over mix. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

chocolate cake mousse ganache raspberrie


Be My Valentine {vmac+cheese}

I’m honored to be spending today with one of my favorite ladies, Victoria from vmac+cheese. Not only did she prepare an amazing dessert for our Valentine’s celebration, but today is a special one for Victoria… It’s her first day as a full-time, self-employed rockstar, with her new biz Vivaleur! I couldn’t be more excited for her… so let’s celebrate with some dessert!

• • •

Hi everyone! Victoria from vmac+cheese here to share a fruit tart recipe I put together especially for Nikki and all of you. The best part about it? Well, other than being delicious, it’s easy to make (though it looks fancy) and you can also serve it pretty much any time of year, not just Valentine’s!

The crust in this pretty little tart is made with store bought graham crackers. A little homemade pastry cream (trust me, it’s simple!), and a garnish of fresh fruit, and you have a dessert worthy of Valentine’s Day, or even just a regular brunch with friends. Give it a try!

Vanilla Almond Tart Raspberries vmac and cheese Victoria dessert Valentine's Day

Vanilla Almond Tart with Raspberries

For the tart shell:

  • 12 graham cracker
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted

For the pastry cream (filling):

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (I used extra large eggs, then saved the whites for breakfast!)
  • 5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 tbsp butter, cubed
  • –pinch kosher salt


  • 2 half pints of raspberries
  • –can also substitute any fruit you’d like, and use other garnishes such as sliced almonds, pistachios, even white chocolate shavings
  • –optional: 2 tablespoons of apricot jam

Vanilla Almond Tart Raspberries vmac and cheese Victoria dessert Valentine's Day

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Break apart the graham crackers and add them to a food processor bowl. Grind until you have a fine meal. It should yield about 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker “flour.” In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker flour, the sugar, and the butter. Toss together until combined and the graham cracker flour is moistened.

Butter an 9″ tart pan, then set it on a sheet tray (this will just help you avoid a huge mess, and transfer the tart easily). Press the graham cracker mixture into the tart, and along the sides of the pan. I used the back of a measuring cup to press it and pack it in. Use a knife and run it along the top edge of the pan to sweep away any excess crumb (or you can leave it if you like a rustic looking tart).

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is fragrant and just set. It should feel firm to the touch, not crumbly like it was before baking.

Vanilla Almond Tart Raspberries vmac and cheese Victoria dessert Valentine's Day

For the pastry cream:

Combine the milk and half of the sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir gently to combine, and let it scald.

While the milk is heating, beat together the yolks and the rest of the sugar in a glass or non-reactive bowl. I like to whip them by hand using a whisk, but you could use a stand mixer if you wanted. Beat them for several minutes, until the mixture is very pale yellow and aerated. Add in the flour, the pinch of salt, and beat again until well incorporated. It should be thick, almost like a paste. Stir in the extracts.

Once the milk is hot, carefully pour in just a little bit into the yolk mixture, and immediately stir. You will want to move quickly, so the yolks don’t scramble. Once the first bit of milk is incorporated, add some more in, and stir again. This process is called tempering, and the whole idea behind it is we want the yolk mixture’s temperature to increase, but not so quickly that things scramble! Once you’ve added in about half the milk mixture, pour the egg/milk mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk, and set it over medium to medium low heat. Use a spatula to stir it, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, it should thicken considerably. Stir to ensure it doesn’t burn. If lumps form, you can beat them out with a whisk. Once it’s hot enough that bubbles start to gurgle up through the cream, cook it for 1-2 minutes more, until it’s very thick, like pudding. Remove it from the heat, and stir in the butter.

Pour the pastry cream into a clean bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap. Be sure the plastic wrap directly touches the cream, so that a skin won’t form. Store in the refrigerator until cold. You could make this a day or two ahead.

Vanilla Almond Tart Raspberries vmac and cheese Victoria dessert Valentine's Day

To assemble the tart:

Spread the thickened pastry cream into the shell of the tart with a spoon. Garnish with fruit or whatever other items you’d like, then serve. OPTIONAL: To get that gorgeous, fresh from the bakery fruit tart look, mix apricot jam with a little water until it’s slightly liquified, then use a clean spray bottle to glaze the top of the tart. It’ll look shiny and super professional. Enjoy!

*The tart can be made a day in advance. Allowing the pastry cream to sit in the crust for at least several hours will help prevent the crust from crumbling when you serve it.

Pastry cream 911 tip:

If you refrigerate your pastry cream and find it’s not setting up (i.e., it’s still more liquid-y than pudding like), here’s a fix. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add in an equal amount of cornstarch. Whisk this together until it’s a paste, then whisk that into the pastry cream. Set it over medium heat, and stir constantly with a spatula or whisk, until you bring it to a slight boil again. It should be thick and spreadable. Refrigerate it again with contact plastic wrap, then use as you wish.

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Obviously, this post is a little late. Oops!

Valentine’s Day night I got very sick for a few weeks so forgive me. (I was really excited for it too, do you remember?) I did want to post this sweet little raspberry cupcake recipe though so, enjoy…

This cupcake is so light and fresh. The recipe uses fresh raspberries, which add a wonderful sweetness and fun color. I topped these with my cream cheese frosting…with the two together the cupcake tasted like raspberry cheesecake. Perfect! Topped with some fun sprinkles and candies, these were a great non-chocolate V-Day dessert. But they’ll work anytime in early spring too, (or whenever you can find fresh berries) if you want to try them out now.

Raspberry Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart)

  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2  1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1  1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1  1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2  1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) raspberries, 1 container pureed, 1 container coarsely chopped
  • Gel-paste food coloring, in Tulip Red
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups. (Mine actually made more than this…)
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar in a slow, steady stream, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat until smooth.
  3. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in pureed and chopped raspberries and a small drop of food coloring.
  4. Divide batter among baking cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes, and let cool completely.

My Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 eight-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth
  2. Add the vanilla extract
  3. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated
  4. Stick your finger into the bowl and lick away
  5. Just kidding… maybe… spread on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

And the whole (maybe a little over the top) Valentine’s Day table…

Simple Summer Galettes

Cupcakes for Breakfast: raspberry blueberry galette

I had made a galette earlier this summer and my brother asked me to make another one while we were on vacation on Nantucket. This is one of the most simple and delicious desserts. It also looks so impressive – like right out of  Parisean bakery.  We picked out fresh fruit from Bartlett’s Farm – the sweet but natural flavors are perfect for a summer dessert.

Peach/Raspberry-Blueberry Galette

  • Frozen pie crust, thawed
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 2 peaches, sliced or 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter
  1. Preheat oven to 400° Place wax paper on a baking sheet and roll out pie crust on top.
  2. In a bowl, combine: blueberries, peaches flour and sugar.
  3. Place fruit mixture in the middle of the pie crust.
  4. Begin folding the edge of crust in, around the fruit — this will naturally create the beautiful folds of the galette. Cut up butter into small pieces and place on top of fruit.
  5. Sprinkle the outer crust with some sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 min or until crust is golden brown. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Summer peach blueberry raspberry galettes

Raspberry blueberry summer galette

peach blueberry summer pie

summer berry galette

summer berry galette with ice cream